Young drivers in Hartlepool are four times more likely to be involved in road accidents than other drivers – with the risk increasing when they have a car full of friends.
Road Safety GB North East is launching a Young Driver campaign today as it revealed the main causes of accidents for people aged between 17 and 24 are failing to look properly, risk-taking, distraction, speeding, inexperience and driving while impaired by drink or drugs.
In the past five years, there have been a total of 18 serious accidents in the town involving younger motorists, with 115 slight smashes also occurring.
Paul Watson, chairman of Road Safety GB North East (RSGB NE), said: “We know a lot of young drivers are good drivers, however, figures show that if you are aged 17 to 24 you are four times more likely to be involved in a crash than other people.
“This may be due to their own actions, or simply inexperience at avoiding the dangerous actions of other drivers.
“If the driver is acting irresponsibly, tell them to stop. If a passenger is distracting the driver, do something about it.”
Between 2011 and 2015, almost a third of road accident injuries in the North East related to collisions involving young drivers.
Whilst young drivers were not at fault for all collisions they were involved in, figures showed that about 20% of all people injured were aged between 17 and 24, despite that age bracket only accounting for only 7% of driving licence-holders.
In the past five years, 38 young drivers have been killed on the North East’s roads, 440 were seriously injured and almost 4,000 slightly injured.
However, a total of 64 young people have died in that time, including passengers and pedestrians.
As the nights draw in, RSGB NE is hoping its Young Driver campaign will help to change behaviour and reduce casualty figures.
Paul added: “Failure to look is a big cause for concern because almost a quarter of collisions involving young people are simply down to the driver not looking at the road around them properly.
“However, a common theme is also inexperience and risk-taking because the figures show us that they are more likely to crash in wet and poor weather conditions than other drivers, perhaps because they haven’t slowed down sufficiently, and that they are more likely to crash because of careless or reckless behaviour.”
Ron Hogg, Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Sometimes it can be drivers’ behaviour, and not their driving skills, that causes collisions.
“Therefore, campaigns such as this one are vitally important to get the message across to our young people.
“Nobody wants to deal with heartbreak and loss of a family member or friend, due to a needless accident on our roads.
“I urge drivers to think twice and take extra care.”
For more information about Road Safety GB North East and the campaign go to www.lookoutroadsafety.co.uk.