Motorists see inexperience and overconfidence as biggest young driver risks

12.00 | 15 August 2013 | | 2 comments

Inexperience (86%) and overconfidence (86%) are the main reasons that new drivers are the riskiest group of road users, according to a new poll by the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists).

The online poll canvassed opinions of all drivers on the subject of young drivers, and drew more than 2,200 responses.

Respondents also rated peer pressure (67%), immaturity (52%) and shortfalls in the learning process (45%) as being important risk factors.

68% of respondents lack faith in the current driving test as being an adequate system to produce safe drivers, leading the IAM to conclude that “there is a high degree of dissatisfaction with the current system for learning to drive”. When asked to rate how well new drivers are taught using a scale of one to 10 (one being poor, 10 being ideal), 57% of respondents rated it as a five or below.

When asked about the idea of a minimum learning period, respondents’ opinion is split: 31% believe it should be six months, while 36% believe it should be at least a year. 16% of respondents are against the idea of a minimum learning period.

The IAM says the poll showed support for stricter drink-drive limits for younger drivers, with 49% of respondents saying that the drink-drive limit should be lower for younger drivers.

When it comes to the number of passengers younger drivers can carry, 71% support restrictions in the first few months after passing the practical test.

Attitudes were more divided on the idea of a night-time curfew, with 47% supporting the idea while 45% are against any enforced curfew for young people.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “Our survey shows that 69% of motorists lack faith in the current system which marks a clear need to review the learning process.

“It is clear that motorists want to see more restrictions on younger drivers, but this will not solve the issue alone. There needs to be a lifelong learning approach to driving that starts at school and continues through experience and coaching into the higher risk early days of solo driving. The more experience of driving that young people get the safer they will be in the long run.”

Contact the IAM on 020 8996 9777 for more information.


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    For those who said the test isn’t difficult enough, take their licences off them and get them to take the test again. After their retest, do the poll again. I suspect the poll would have very different results!

    Dave Finney, Slough
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    The driving test itself is inadequate. You don’t need to be able to drive to pass, the test needs to be overhauled and the three strike rule brought back into force. Also some instructors should be looked at as I have seen Sat navs being used in tuition and very poor teaching techniques. The overhaul of making safer drivers starts and finishes with the instructor. You should be able to start driving at 16 and not allowed to take test till 17 with the emphasis on instructors to teach on as many different roads and vary times of lessons to give the students more experience. The drink drive limit should be 0, you can’t say don’t drink and drive and in the same sentence have a buffer for alcohol level in the body. Night lessons should be compulsory as well as making the Pass Plus compulsory students who pass the test should not get their licence till they have done the Pass Plus and make the minimum number of hours higher as a motorway lesson should and can take a good 4 hours if done correctly.

    Donna Epsom surrey
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