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Do We Unfairly Stereotype Young Drivers?

Michelin have commissioned a report by Road Safety Analysis, canvassing the reaction to the proposals suggested in the Department for Transport’s Green Paper on improving safety for young drivers.  What’s been interesting is that in some aspects young drivers have shown themselves to be far more concerned with safety than the typical stereotype of the reckless, over-confident teen behind the wheel would suggest.

So are we unfair to young drivers when we categorise them as risk-taking, speed loving teenagers racing round in hot-hatches without a care in the world?  The findings of the report seem to suggest we are.

The study, which will be officially released on June 3rd 2013, reveals that 4 out of 10 young drivers (aged 17 – 25) said they would back a proposal to make motorway lessons, including night-time lessons, a mandatory requirement in learning to drive.

Strong support was also shown by this age group for breath-alcohol ignition locks, which aim to prevent anyone over the limit from getting behind the wheel. It’s interesting that drink driving is something young drivers feel very strongly about, showing the governments campaign to change attitudes on this subject has been a success.

Young drivers tend to have far less tolerance to drink driving, having grown up with the message that it is totally unacceptable, whereas we all seem to have an elderly aunt who still believes five sherrys on Christmas morning somehow don’t count.

Still, whilst the study seems to present young drivers as safety-conscious it is still worth noting that 1 in 8 driving licence holders in the UK are in the under 25 demographic, yet this age group is involved in 1 in every 5 accidents resulting in death or serious injuries.

So is it the case that young drivers are far more considered and concerned than lazy stereotyping gives them credit for or do the statistics on accidents in this age group show actions speak louder than words?

It’s an interesting debate, and if it can in any way help to reduce the accident levels in this age group, one that is certainly worth having.

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