Research has shown that young British drivers are the most likely in Europe to be distracted by attractive pedestrians.
A worldwide World Health Organisation Global Status Report On Road Safety (2015) also revealed car crashes are the leading cause of death among young people, with the highest proportion dying on the roads.
Ford commissioned its own survey of 6,500 young Europeans to better understand the risks they take. It found young drivers in the UK are the most likely in Europe to be distracted by attractive pedestrians, and the majority of road accident fatalities involve young men. The summer period has a significantly increased risk with almost two thirds of young people saying they are more relaxed with their driving during the holiday months. According to the European Road Safety Observatory, in Europe this segment accounts for eight per cent of the total population, but fifteen per cent of all those killed in road accidents. In the summertime, the problem gets worse as 18-24-year-olds account for 21 per cent of all deaths on the road in summer.
Risky behaviour has been identified as a key factor behind the statistics, which also show that from 2004 to 2013, 62,000 young people were killed in road accidents in the European Union. The European Road Safety Observatory said poor reading of the road, impairment from substances or stress and distraction are among the most common factors in accidents involving young drivers.
Ford's survey showed that 57 per cent have exceeded speed limits, 43 per cent have sent a text while driving, 36 per cent have taken calls and sent instant messages, 16 per cent have driven without wearing their seatbelts, 13 per cent have driven after drinking, and up to 11 per cent have watched videos or TV shows on their devices.
Ford offers free training for young drivers with Ford Driving Skills for Life (DSFL). In Europe, by the end of 2016, the programme will have trained more than 20,000 drivers across 13 countries.
“Summer is a great time to enjoy the freedom of driving, which is as much a part of being young today as it was for previous generations. But too many young adults are dying in car crashes caused by a combination of inexperience and poor decision making,” said Jim Graham, manager, Ford DSFL.
Up to 57 per cent of young drivers also admit they drive more safely with parents or grandparents in the car, and 41 per cent said they would take more risks with friends in the car.
For this reason Ford has created a new spoof video to showcase the virtues of “Blown Ups.”
The majority of young driver fatalities involve young men, and the Ford survey confirms they are more likely to engage in risky behaviour. Young men are three times as likely as young women to be distracted by attractive pedestrians; 25 per cent have been stopped by police compared with 16 per cent of women; and they are more likely to speed, use mobile phones while driving, and drink drive.
“It is crucial that we find the right way to reach young people with these very important messages and to ensure that as many drivers as possible have the opportunity to benefit from DSFL training,” Graham said.