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Are young drivers today safer than their parents were?

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

July 17, 2020

News 6 min read

Do your parents hark back to the good old days of driving when they passed their driving test? How ‘kids these days will never appreciate what it’s like to drive without power steering’ or ‘when I was your age driving was better because…’? Well, we’ve got some news for you parents… The truth is, drivers in the ’80s and ’90s would have been twice as likely to have been involved in an accident as young drivers today! That’s right – driving is getting safer and we’re taking a look as to why and what is helping improve the stats of road traffic accidents involving young drivers.

1990 compared to 2016

The good news is that overall, the overall number of collisions was down by nearly half from 1990 to 2016, likely due to the significant improvements in the car, road and safety technology over the years.

However, the best news is that the total number of reported road injuries involving at least one young driver aged between 17-24 is the UK has fallen even further! In 1990 there was a high of 79,945 injury collisions – in 2016, this had fallen by 68%! The number of fatal collisions involving young people has also seen a huge drop. From a high of 1,430 collisions in 1990, 2016 saw 317 collisions, down by 78%!


So, what’s changed over the last 30 years?

Car technology

The technology in cars has helped to reduce the number of collisions young drivers are having. These days new cars come with many features that help improve safety on the road, such as automatic brakes, crash detection systems, reversing cameras and much more. Here we’re taking a look at some things that were implemented over the years to help with driver safety.

1991 – Seatbelts became compulsory to wear in the rear of the car
1994 – Volvo introduced side airbags
1997 – The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) was introduced, performing crash tests on cars and publishing records so drivers could see which cars were safest
2004 – Volvo introduced the blind spot information system (BLIS) cameras and motion sensors to avoid accidental collisions when the driver is parking or switching lanes
2005 – Jaguar & Citroen develop the pop-up bonnet which was designed to reduce pedestrian injury risk
2008 – Volvo introduced autonomous emergency braking to help drivers prevent collisions when sensors pick up an oncoming vehicle
2010 – Volvo develop pedestrian detection system, causing cars to break automatically when a pedestrian is detected

Telematics technology

Telematics or black box technology is a device used in the car which allows young drivers to monitor their driving behaviour and in turn, helps them improve their driving skills. Telematics is becoming more widely used among young drivers – BIBA (The British Insurance Broker Association) research shows that telematics reached close to 1 million live policies in 2018, compared to the 12,000 policies live in 2009!*

The box monitors things like speed, acceleration, braking and cornering. Once you’ve had a journey, you can review it and see where your driving was good and parts that could be improved. You don’t have to just take our word for it – Marmalade customers are 73% less likely to have an accident compared to the national average!*

Increasing awareness of road safety

Not only have there been improvements to cars over the years that have helped with road safety, but there are also loads of initiatives that are increasing awareness of road safety. Believe it or not, the UK government has been running its road safety campaigns for over 75 years. In the year 2000, THINK! was established as the government’s designated road safety campaign. Road deaths then fell by 3,409 which is the lowest seen at the time since records began. It’s not just THINK! that are running road safety initiatives. The likes of Brake, IAM Roadsmart and many others continue to work together to improve road safety and reduce the number of accidents.

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Chloe Martell profile

By Chloe Martell

'As a new driver, I'm so eager to share my driving journey with you all - from when I was a learner, going through my test and all the aspects of my driving life now, including my love of cars!'  See more posts by Chloe

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