Essex: Young drivers at risk on county’s roads

YOUNG drivers and motorcyclists are most at risk of being involved in a fatal or serious accident in Essex, the latest figures have revealed.

One in five accidents in which someone is killed or seriously injured (KSIs) is caused by a driver aged 17 to 25.

The information released by Essex County Council this week shows that in 2010 there were 132 KSI accidents caused by young drivers – an increase on the 129 recorded the previous year.

Roger Walters, the council’s deputy cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “Young drivers are a key area of concern for Essex County Council, especially as they still represent 20% of killed or seriously injured figures.”

He explained that the rise was a blip and that the number of serious accidents caused by young drivers had fallen in recent years – in 2007 the figure was 204.

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He added: “We will be continuing our pro-active and innovative work in order to achieve a further reduction.”

The council is urging young drivers to be aware of the dangers on the road, particularly as British Summer Time does not begin for another six weeks and a greater proportion of young drivers crash after dark.

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They have said the main reason for young drivers crashing is careless or reckless driving, aggressive driving, speeding, alcohol or drugs and poor overtaking.

Pauline Holden, road traffic collision reduction manager at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It’s partly down to inexperience and thinking they are indestructible.

“Young people get into a car and think they can drive effectively, but you become a better driver with experience as your awareness on the road improves.

“Our message to young people is to look after each other, which is what friendship is all about. Take responsibility for your passengers and resist peer pressure to drive fast or show off.”

Nationally, young driver accidents peak between 6pm and 12midnight, where as all other accidents peak between 12noon and 6pm.

Young male drivers’crash rate is three times greater than that of young females and more girls die as passengers than as drivers.

Young drivers represent about 3% of all licence-holders in the country but are involved in 25% of all killed and seriously injured collisions, and more crashes involve 18-year-olds than any other age group.

The number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured on Essex roads in 2010 was 171.

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