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Young people in Gloucestershire are being warned about the dangers of driving while distracted to mark Road Safety Week.

| 18.11.13

Young people in Gloucestershire are being warned about the dangers of driving while distracted to mark Road Safety Week.

The theme of this year’s national campaign, which launches today, is Tune Into Road Safety – and acknowledges the fact that the behaviour of drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 is a growing problem on roads across the UK.

Last year, although Gloucestershire recorded the lowest ever number of road crashes in its history almost half of the drivers killed on our roads were under the age of 24 and nearly a third of serious collisions involving young drivers didn’t involve another vehicle.

Alongside its continuous work across the county, Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership (RSP) commissioned a survey, in which more than 300 students from Gloucestershire College took part in October.

The unique research examined the behaviour of young drivers and their passengers – and found that being distracted behind the wheel is a significant issue.

More than half of all passengers overall said they had been in a car in which the young driver was singing or dancing (71%), eating or drinking (65%), or setting a satnav (54%). Nearly half had seen the driver reading a text message (44%) or driving too fast (44%), while more than a quarter had seen the driver using a mobile (29%), texting (29%) or reading a map (28%).

Drivers in the 17-24 age bracket, however, are more confident about their behaviour, with nearly four in five (79%) of young drivers surveyed saying they were a bit or much more skilful than the average driver.

Nearly 40% of young drivers said they get behind the wheel when too tired, but far fewer overall admitted to allowing themselves to be distracted, despite what passengers might say.

However, 46% of passengers who were surveyed said that they had felt uneasy about the behaviour of the young motorist driving them, while 33% said they had been worried.

According to the survey, young people put accidents in their age group down to inexperience, over-confidence, showing off, driving too fast and being distracted.

The RSP will now use its findings to support work it does with young people across Gloucestershire.

Police will also be looking at targeting the specific behaviours of the 17 to 24-year-old age group at hot spot locations across Gloucestershire, while the RSP is working with national driving organisations to inform its current education programme.

The partnership will send the findings of its survey to the Secretary of State for Transport to consider as part of national consultations into the safety of young motorists.

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