'Youths think they're better drivers'

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Overconfidence and inexperience are a deadly combination, putting the lives of drivers less than 25 years old at risk.

London, England - Seventy-one per cent of young British drivers think they are better than the average driver, according to a survey by Vision Critical and road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists - and yet they are 2.5 times more likely to be involved in a serious crash.

Britain's most confident young drivers are in Northern Ireland where 87 percent reckon they're better than average, yet they make up 26 percent of those involved in crashes.

Three out of four (75 percent) of young male drivers think that they are better than average drivers, while seven out of 10 (68 percent) of young women think they are better than average drivers.

OFFICIAL FIGURES TELL A DIFFERENT STORY

Nevertheless, in stark contrast to the expressed confidence of these young drivers, official figures show that only eight percent of British drivers are under 25, and they drive, on average, about half the distance of older drivers each year.

Yet they account for 22 percent of drivers involved in serious injury and fatal crashes; nearly a quarter of all car drivers who died on UK roads in 2012 (133 out of 542) were less than 24 years old.

There are no statistics available for the percentage of the more than 12 000 people who were killed on South African roads during the same year that were less than 25 years old.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said:

"A year ago the UK government committed itself to producing a green paper to tackle the safety of young drivers which has yet to be published.

"Our whole system of learning to drive must be overhauled to provide safe exposure to a wider range of traffic situations, but also the chance to discuss attitudes and risks.

"New drivers feel invulnerable and it is the job of government, driving instructors, insurance providers, charities and parents to ensure they have the best training to reduce risk to themselves and others."


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