Driving is risky business for young people

Around 142 P-plates are issued every day in Western Australia, equating more than 50,000 every year.

Whether you’re a novice driver yourself, a parent of a teen in the early years of their driving career, or just sharing the road, being aware of the risks young drivers face is something we can all relate to.

Young people are overrepresented in almost every road safety statistic.

Of all hospitalisations of young Australians, almost half are drivers involved in a road traffic crash and another quarter are passengers. 20 per cent of all people killed or seriously injured on WA roads are aged 17-24.

Across Australia, the biggest killer of young drivers is speeding and around 80 per cent of those killed are male.

Compared to more experienced drivers, P-platers are three times more likely to be injured in a crash if they have been drinking.

While inexperience is considered the primary reason, intentional and unintentional risk-taking also plays a role.

Excessive speeding, driving too close, using a mobile phone while driving, violating traffic rules and driving at night are among risky behaviours that are more common among young drivers.

Knowing a behaviour was risky did not stop some young drivers from engaging in that behaviour. A common problem for some young people is their inability to evaluate the potential risks and consequences of everyday behaviour.

Young drivers can be over-confident about their driving ability and underestimate the dangers on the road.

Just as important as encouraging safe road use, is encouraging young drivers to consider cars that are not only safe for the driver, but for other road users as well.

If buying a car, check its safety rating on the ANCAP website or app. Cars with a five-star rating provide much better protection in the event of a crash, compared to those with a lower star rating.