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Young Drivers

Safety Tips for Young Drivers.

  • Get supervised driving experience in all types of weather conditions and road surfaces (clear weather, dawn/dusk, rain, high winds, dust, gravel, hill climbs, descents, etc.).
  • Get someone who is an experienced driver to supervise you lots while driving town/city rush hour traffic, around roundabouts, out on the motorway, changing lanes, urban and rural driving. etc. Don’t just practise in an urban area, make sure you get experience driving on all types of roads with a confident driver alongside to guide you as and when you may need it.
  • Be courteous when driving and think of other road users.
  • Look as far ahead as possible, and not just at the taillights of the car in front of you, which is how nose-to-tail accidents happen.
  • Put your phone away when you’re driving, or at least where you can’t see or reach for it. Driver distraction is a leading cause of crashes.
  • Don’t let passengers push you beyond your comfort zone. It’s your responsibility as the driver to stay alert, ensure how safe is safe for you, the safety of yourself, the safety of passengers, and the safety of others while driving.
  • When choosing a car, look for solid cars with technology like ABS, airbags, and pre-tensioning seatbelts.
  • Get a car with great visibility about the car.
  • Parents, family members, and those with driving experience should supervise you (the young driver/learner) as much as possible.

As a parent or guardian, let your young learners drive, even if it’s just for short distances each time. It is so important to help them get experience behind the wheel while being supervised as much as is possible and practical.

In 2008, OECD data revealed that the United Kingdom (UK) had the lowest fatalities per billion vehicle kilometres travelled when compared with other countries who were OECD members.  In this survey, the graphed data showed Australia as being 9th out of the 13 countries involved in the survey.  Where the UK had 4.9 fatalities per billion vehicle kilometres travelled, Australia had 6.9.  Denmark held the highest with 8.22.

Recently, Top Tests, UK, revealed data on various driving statistics.  Top Test’s 2018 data showed that drivers aged 16–19 were still 38% more likely to be killed or seriously injured than drivers aged 40–49, and drivers aged 20–29 were 65% more likely to be killed or seriously injured than drivers aged 40–49.  When 1000 drivers were quizzed in 2018, Top Tests found that 42% of the drivers aged 18–34 admitted to experiencing road rage at least once a week, and 14% of younger drivers experienced road rage every day that they drove.  (Source:

Across the ditch in NZ, AMI insurance claims data reveal that drivers under the age of 25-years old are most at risk of having an accident.  In the United State, motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for U.S. teens.  Here in Australia, the government has kept a close eye on road statistics as well, and rightly so.  According to 2021 reports, there were a total of 1133 road fatalities for the 2021 year, where speeding remained the top cause of accidents; this was followed by driver distraction, and then driver fatigue.  Those aged 17 – 25 year old were the second-highest age bracket impacted by road deaths.  The 40 – 64 age group had the most road accident deaths, however it was young men who were more likely to be involved in a crash.

By March this year (2022), New South Wales had recorded the most fatal road accidents for the year (25), an increase from 2021 with (19). Queensland followed (20), Victoria (18), Western Australia (15), South Australia (7), Tasmania (6), Northern Territory (3), and the Australian Capital Territory (0)

Whether it’s travelling too fast for the conditions, using smartphones, vaping or smoking, eating, applying makeup, checking the texts – all while driving – these are the leading causes for road fatalities on Australian roads.  Driving while fatigued and, of course, drink driving or driving under the influence of some drug also causes road fatalities.

It’s sad that anyone should die, however it is the young drivers that are the top culprits for using their mobile phones while they are driving, which leads to serious and tragic accidents.  In Australia, 18 – 24 and 25 – 39 age groups reported the highest application of using mobile phones while driving.  18 – 24 year old drivers are twice as likely to receive a speeding fine.

Hamish Piercy, Fleet Risk Manager for AMI, and former New Zealand Police Officer with the serious crash unit, has over 33 years of crash investigation experience.  Hamish was unsurprised that, in New Zealand, AMI received such a high number of claims for drivers under the age of 25.  He commented: “There are a lot of great young drivers out there, and some excellent driver education programmes, but these statistics show that we can’t be complacent when it comes to driver safety. It’s an unavoidable fact that to gain experience, you have to drive. So, as a society we need to look at how we can enable that in safe ways.”

If possible, try to enrol your young family member that’s embarking on getting a driver’s license to run through a local driver training course.  Good driving courses will focus on key areas like core driving skills, reading the road ahead, distraction, inattention, and speed.  Courses that can impart crucial driving skills will enable your youngster to gain confidence, gain good driving skills and driving habits, and get plenty of positive encouragement.  These are all essential for getting out on the road to drive as safely as possible.

Safe driving everyone!