Young drivers, especially young males, have relatively more accidents than other drivers, even allowing for their relative numbers in the population. Their accident involvement is over two times higher than that of older drivers and young driver accidents also have somewhat different characteristics than those of older drivers. Over 3000 accident cases involving drivers aged 17-25 were considered, all from midland UK police forces, and covering the years 1994-1996 inclusive. Each case was analysed in depth and summarized on a database that contained important features to be used in subsequent analyses. Four types of accident were analysed right-turns; rear-end shunts; loss of control on bends; and accidents in darkness. Loss of control on bends and accidents in the hours of darkness were found to be a particular problem for the younger drivers within the group studied (17-19 year olds), while the older group studied (23-25 years) had more problems with rear end shunt accidents. Right turn accidents seem to peak in relative frequency in the middle age range of the sample (20-22 years). Further work revealed important differences in the accident classes studied with regard to such factors as driver experience, gender, and the incidence of speeding and other reckless behaviours. An examination of driver attitudes as revealed in police interviews also gave an insight into some of the motivational factors underlying young driver behaviour. It is shown that attitudinal factors are at least as important as skill factors when the causation of young driver accidents is being considered. (A)

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