The over-risk of young drivers


Young people are particularly affected by road fatalities. They represent only 8.8% of the population but 20.8% of those killed on the road.

Weekends are particularly deadly (43% of those killed aged 18 to 24).

Just like the nights (59% of deaths against 44% for other age groups). The night is intimately associated with transgression, pleasure, celebration, and intoxication of the senses. Important note: one in two deaths is explained by the driver’s behavior alone (on two or four wheels); the accident had involved only one vehicle and no pedestrian. These conditions in which accidents take place are almost the same in all countries and can be summarized as follows: in the night from Saturday to Sunday, between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., return trip from a weekend outing -end (discos, pubs, parties, balls, parties with friends), an accident involving only one vehicle, loss of control in a curve, head-on collision with a tree or a fixed obstacle.

Also, analyzes of accidents involving young drivers reveal a glaring inequality: that of gender. Out of 10 deaths, 8 are men, and 2 are women. Road accidents account for 41% of deaths among boys aged 15 to 19.


From the age of 12, adolescents adopt oppositional behaviors to differentiate themselves from adults because they look for their own identity. Risk-taking is an illustration of this behavior. The young person wishes to test and prove his new capacities from the body, his desires, and thoughts. It is between the ages of 15 and 24 that risk-taking is the most important. The young person will seek novelty and stimulation, such as speed in particular. The young person is then subjected to impulses that he uses in an unsuitable environment and conditions: the road. By driving a two-wheeler or a car, he will maintain the illusion of being able to control. Risk-taking is part of this register and leads adolescents to commit transgressive, sometimes violent, and aggressive acts hoping that adults will become aware of his change. Risk-taking or the lack of risk perception also illustrates the difficult relationship that young people have with death. They live in the moment and the satisfaction of immediate desires. For them, death is difficult to imagine. Paradoxically, to be sure that they are alive, they will, in extreme cases, approach mortality by adopting very dangerous behavior. Instant and the satisfaction of immediate desires. For them, death is difficult to imagine. Paradoxically, to be sure that they are alive, they will, in extreme cases, approach mortality by adopting very dangerous behavior. Instant and the satisfaction of immediate desires. For them, death is difficult to imagine. Paradoxically, to be sure that they are alive, they will, in extreme cases, approach mortality by adopting very dangerous behavior.

Young people also tend to accept a higher level of risk than their elders.

We find under this dimension the effect of the group. Increasing its popularity and prestige and maintaining a certain status within the group also leads young people, and mainly boys, to take risks and, in particular, to drive fast.


The 18-25-year-olds have been impregnated since their childhood by the messages of prevention: alcohol, drugs, high speed. However, their attitude is paradoxical: willingly moralists nevertheless take the greatest risks on the road, as revealed by a study conducted*. 93% of young people surveyed believe that it is very dangerous to drive after having smoked cannabis, and 83% that getting behind the wheel after more than two glasses of alcoholic beverage is dangerous. Well aware of the danger. Therefore, 88% of young people anticipate the evening’s return and first designate a “sam”, the one who will remain sober and lead to the return. However, 13% of young people admit having already been accompanied by drunk alcohol or smoked cannabis driver.

Young drivers are also very aware of the dangers of high speed; 77% consider it dangerous to drive at 160 km / h on a motorway, but 14% do so anyway. On the other hand, they put the effects of fatigue on driving into perspective. 65% of young people take the risk of driving when they are tired. A real danger when we know that drowsiness is one of the main causes of death on the motorway.


In the first 2 or 3 years of driving, young drivers underestimate the risk in smooth traffic more than experienced drivers. Younger drivers can identify nearby hazards as well as older drivers, but more distant hazards less easily. They tend to limit their visual exploration to the area close to the vehicle. Inexperience seems to focus their attention on controlling the vehicle, impairs the perception of potential dangers and information processing. The lower the level of perceived risk, the more it is a factor in risk-taking behavior. Added to this is the inexperience of night driving. Young people generally use their vehicle more for leisure than for work, which is the opposite in young people. Adult. Also, young people often have a more active social life at night. However, a young driver rarely takes part in driving school experiences at night or on open country roads.


18-25-year-olds do not seem to be aware of the danger of cell phone use: 57% of 18-25-year-olds call while driving. 63% of 18-25-year-olds consult and write text messages while driving. However, looking for the phone, dialing, answering, hanging up are all operations that constitute real distractions for the driver and are all risk factors for his safety and motorists’ safety. It’s not easy to maneuver when you don’t have both hands on the wheel! Who has never met a driver, combined in hand, navigating from left to right and having difficulty maneuvering? Who has never met a young person on their bike or scooter with their phone in hand?

Also, a telephone conversation will have an influence on the attention paid to driving: fixing the gaze towards the front to the detriment of side vision and the use of exterior and interior mirrors, lengthening of the reaction time, abrupt reduction speed, which can be dangerous in dense traffic … Unfortunately, one observation is in order: young drivers who have grown up and evolved with the cell phone, seem to have the greatest difficulty in parting with them.

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