Over one in eight road traffic accidents resulting in a death or injury involves a driver in their teens, according to new figures for some areas of the UK.
And the research suggests that thousands of deaths and injuries could be avoided by introducing schemes that temporarily restrict the activities of newly-qualified drivers.
Drivers aged 17, 18 and 19 account for just 1.5% of licensed motorists out on the roads, but between 2008 and 2012 drivers in that age bracket were involved in 11.9% of all the road traffic accidents involving a fatality or injury.
Regionally, almost one in five (18.2%) of such accidents in the Dyfed Powys area of Wales involved a teenage driver. Meanwhile, the RAC Foundation-commissioned research found rates of more than 15% in Gwent, Cumbria and North Wales, Cornwall and the Grampian region in Scotland.
The smallest proportion (5.6%) of accidents involving the country’s youngest drivers was found in London.
‘One in five will have accident’
Transport research experts TRL, which carried out the study, calculate that around 4,500 less people – including about 430 who would otherwise be killed or seriously injured – would be hurt each year if graduated driving licensing (GDL) was introduced in the UK.
Restrictions covering the first few months after a motorist passes their driving test could include a late-night curfew, limits on the number of young passengers they can carry and reduced alcohol limits.
With the RAC Foundation estimating that a fifth of young motorists are likely to have an accident within six months of getting their driving licence, director Professor Stephen Glaister says the research highlights the “disproportionate” risk they pose to themselves and other road users.
He adds that the findings support calls for graduated licensing to be introduced to improve road safety.
Meanwhile, Accident Advice Helpline has issued a set of tips to help young drivers avoid potential hazards on the roads.