Driven to Distraction - Young Drivers at Risk

A study on driver distractions has revealed worrying statistics and it seems young drivers are more at risk of being distracted in charge of a vehicle than seasoned and/or older motorists.

They are at risk because their concentration is often more focused elsewhere when driving, including one of the biggest culprits, their mobile phone.

The research was carried out by Goodyear Tyres and was part of the company’s ‘Young Driver Programme’. One thousand young motorists aged between 17 and 25 were questioned regarding their behaviour when driving. 

The results were quite defined, distractions are a serious problem, with a considerable 18% admitting that they have skipped a red light purely because they had allowed their mind to wander away from controlling their vehicle. 

In a list of the top 5 common distractions, the question raised is if they are really worth the risk of causing an accident on our roads, especially in an ever-growing world:

  • Food and Drink - the most common distraction, with 48% admitting they had been aware that they’d been distracted whilst taking a drink or eating behind the wheel

  • 44% of young drivers admitted they got distracted by ‘looking at something outside the car…

  • Mobile Phones - 42% said yes to using a mobile whilst driving but its likely to be higher than that as the majority of young motorists may have wished to bend the truth ‘out of shame’.

  • 33% admitted changing the radio channel or CD had distracted them, with 27% were in the same boat but for streaming music from apps on their phones.

  • The last but not the least common distraction young drivers admitted to was applying makeup, skincare products or brushing their hair - 13% took their concentration off the road to pop on the lippy, rouge and mascara, whilst 12% were guilty of back-combing a little volume into their hair! 

A spokesperson for Goodyear Tyres, Kate Rock, confirmed the results were worrying. 

She emphasised that “of all the young drivers who experienced a near miss or worse, an accident, more than a quarter kept it a secret from their parents!” adding that, “This increases to one in three of drivers aged 17-19 years old who keep the collision a secret.”

Of course, it is high on the priority lists of driving instructors today to teach new drivers how important it is to keep concentration whilst behind the wheel and is a practice that’s thankfully enforced by many driving schools today.