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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 02:57 GMT
'Deadly risks' of young motorists
Car accident
Research suggests that young drivers are much more careless
Young motorists are more likely than older people to take "extreme and life-threatening" risks while driving, a road safety study has suggested.

The charity Brake found that 33% of the 533 drivers aged 17-24 it surveyed admitted overtaking on a blind bend, compared to 9% of older drivers.

Government transport statistics show more than 14 young drivers and their passengers die every week in Britain.

Brake wants the government to bring in a new licence system for young drivers.

Illegal drugs

The study, undertaken in conjunction with the car breakdown company Green Flag, found that 9% of young people had driven after taking illegal drugs, compared with 3% of older drivers.

Half of the young drivers surveyed admitted to using a hand-held phone while behind the wheel, compared with 35% of older drivers.

The research said "horrifying numbers" were taking such life-threatening risks on a regular basis. Some young people admitted to overtaking on a blind bend or using a hand-held phone while driving at least once a week.
The government must take steps to tackle extreme risk-taking
Cathy Keeler

Brake spokeswomen Cathy Keeler called for action to educate the young about the risks.

She said: "The government must take steps to tackle extreme risk-taking and the appalling number of deaths and injuries involving young drivers."

The findings coincide with a national conference in Manchester, organised by Brake, where experts will discuss strategies to reduce the number of crashes involving young drivers.

The experts will also examine government policies, latest research, advertising and education campaigns.

Brake is urging the government to "publish its consultation on novice drivers and take prompt action to cut casualties".

Ms Keeler described the current system of learning to drive as "inadequate" and said it contributed to the high numbers of deaths and injuries on the roads.

Accident scene
Every week 14 young drivers and their passengers die on UK roads

New licence

Brake wants the Government to introduce graduated driver licensing (GDL), which has been successfully introduced in New Zealand, Canada and the US.

This typically includes a minimum learner driver period and a novice driver period after practical and theory tests have been passed.

There can also be restrictions on driving at night and carrying passengers.

The survey questioned 4,640 UK drivers, 533 of whom were aged between 17 and 24.

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