New report highlights young driver risk in rural areas

12.42 | 9 February 2012 | | 4 comments

Young drivers living in rural areas are 37% more likely to be involved in an injury collision than their urban counterparts, according to a new report published today (10 February) by Road Safety Analysis.

The report, ‘Young Drivers Road Risk and Rurality’, also reveals that young rural drivers are two-thirds more likely to be involved in an injury collision than older rural drivers.

The report was compiled by Road Safety Analysis in partnership with the BBC, and the results will feature in the Countryfile programme on Sunday 12 February.

One of the biggest factors in the increased risk is the higher mileage driven by rural drivers – on average they cover 31% more miles than than those living in urban areas. This increased exposure, combined with their relative inexperience compared to older drivers, means that rural councils and police forces should pay special attention to this issue, says Road Safety Analysis.

The report also considers deprivation and whether this is a factor in young driver crashes. While this was not found to be the case in rural areas, it is a factor in large towns and cities.

Dan Campsall, director of Road Safety Analysis says: “This is the first time that we have had a thorough examination of the risks to young drivers based on where they live – and the results are stark.

“Younger drivers from rural areas are much more likely to be involved in a crash where someone is injured, and we need to see a package of measures developed that can bring about a change. This may require investment in transport infrastructure, community bus schemes and further driver training to affect the inequality that these drivers are experiencing.”

Click here to download the report or for more information contact Dan Campsell or Bruce Walton at Road Safety Analysis on 01295 731812, or visit:


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    Whilst we are discussing the nature of young drivers in this year again we see a miriade of age and power obstacles, hurdles that have to be jumped from the age of 17 through to 19 and on to 24 I think before a biker can get his leg over a more powerful bike, from passing his first test. Not that he can’t do over 100 mph on the least poweful ones.

    But the point I make is simple; On a car licence once u have passed the test there is no limit to the power u can put under your right foot.

    Many vehicles financially available to young drivers on the other hand are small wheel based vehices, like VWs or Peugeot, or Ford etc. Small wheelbase and relatively high gives less stability than a more substantial car with a longer and wider wheelbase. Further, for not much additional money the electronics, carburation, emissions etc can all be altered and the performance improved and enhanced.

    I wonder how many insurance companies are informed of these alterations which make for a more dangerous car… in the hands or feet, or brain of a young person.

    Bob Craven, Lancs
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    In response to ‘improving driver training’ is it time for the DSA to make learning to drive more FFP? Why don’t they provide lessons with passengers in the back of a car? A group lesson where the passengers in the back critic the driver in the front at the end of the session – each learner takes it in turn to be the driver? What could this ‘group learning’ achieve? Well, it may help to educate novice drivers as to the change in vehicle handling with more than 2 passengers on board, it might encourage less showing off and more thoughtful driving if during the critic passengers felt able to say ‘that made me feel unsafe’ or ‘you took that corner too fast’? It might also help instructors to identity those learning to drive who have a ‘negative attitude’ to driver safety and work on helping them to improve this attitude whilst they have them as a learner? I personally think that stopping young/novice drivers from doing something is not the answer – surely we need to equip all drivers better so that they can do all driving tasks more safely? Avoidance may only displace the accident to a later time and place?….only saying!

    Susan, Northamptonshire
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    As we’re talking about young drivers, I expect these accidents will have happened in the hours of darkness, and will have involved vehicles carrying passengers.

    As Bob said above, the higher speeds that drivers achieve on these roads (compared to urban areas) combined with the twisty nature of rural roads are the major contributors to these accidents. Another factor to consider is the general absence of public transport in the countryside – if young people want to get around, a car is their only option.

    Diarmuid Fahy, Oxfordshire
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    I think that having driven for 50 yrs or so it comes as no suprise to me that drivers, even riders of twv have more serious accidents out on country roads.

    Maybe its due to a speed of collision of between 60 to 120 mph whereas most urban accidents occur below 30 mph. Stastistics prove that for certain.. more KSIs in the country and more accidents resulting in fewer deaths and less serious injuries round town.

    Nobody likes a boy racer driving fast on country roads just as no one likes an imbicile on a motorcycle tearing round the country lanes. Most of the time maybe they are bored with nothing better to do.

    Has a survey yet been done which would indicate what times and days these accidents occur? With motorcycles it’s on a Saturday and more on a Sunday starting from about 10am and peaking after lunch then reducing to between 4pm and 6pm when they have returned home….. or will it be also at peak commuter times morning and afternoon during the week?

    Now that would be of benefit. Perhaps the IAM can shed some light on this?

    bob craven Lancs
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