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The BBC's Tom Heap reports
"Safety campaigners want a graduated license scheme for new drivers"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 22 March, 2000, 03:17 GMT
Teenage drivers 'die showing off'
crash
Teenage drivers with passengers twice as likely to die
Teenage drivers are more than twice as likely to be killed when they have passengers in their car, according to new research.

While older drivers have a reduced risk of fatal accidents when they have other people in their car, 16 and 17-year-olds are more likely to be killed.

Teenage motorists are also more likely to die when carrying passengers under 30 and when they are driving late at night.



It is a known problem that where young drivers are out with their mates, they are far more likely to egg each other on, and drive in dangerous ways, for instance drinking and speeding

Dave Rogers of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
Experts say teenagers are at increased risk of death because they are more likely to speed, drive dangerously and drink alcohol in the presence of peers.

And the more people in a car driven by a teenager, the higher the risk of a fatal accident, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers said: "A survey of 192 high school drivers reported that dangerous driving behaviour, driving after drinking alcohol or using drugs, speeding, swerving, purposely skidding or jumping a red light were strongly associated with the presence of peers."

They have called for a "graduated licensing" system for teenagers which could place restrictions on night-time driving and how many passengers new motorists can carry.

Death rates

Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States, accounting for 36% of fatalities among the 15-19 age group.


Teenage death drivers
Drivers aged 16-17 are 39% more likely be killed with one passenger
86% more at risk with two passengers
The overall death rate per 10 million trips for a 16-year-old was 1.99 with no passengers
2.76 with one passenger
3.69 with two passengers
5.61 with three or more passengers
And more than 3,000 people a year are killed on Britain's roads with car crashes the main cause of death among teenagers.

Dave Rogers, road safety adviser for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "It is a known problem that where young drivers are out with their mates, they are far more likely to egg each other on, and drive in dangerous ways, for instance drinking and speeding.

"We would like the UK, and Europe to look at the whole idea of graduated licensing and find out what sort of system works best.

"What we need to look at are ways to teach youngsters how to drive safely rather than just how to pass the test."

One idea is to introduce "log books" for learner drivers, who would have to submit evidence to the DVLA to prove they had sufficient driving experience before they were given a full licence.

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23 May 98 | UK
Five die in road crash
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