The opinions expressed in the studies are those of the consultant and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.
Young, novice drivers tend to drive in circumstances that would increase the risk for any driver, and of course especially for them. They drive under more risky conditions than older drivers, in terms of their driving styles (for instance driving at higher speeds), their larger proportion of night-time driving, their life styles (often drinking alcohol, carrying more passengers who influence their behaviour) and their less frequent use of safety devices (such as safety belts). When these specific elements of exposure to risk are combined with their limited driving skills in a complex driving environment, it is not surprising that their risk is higher than that of other drivers.
It has also been suggested that young drivers often increase their exposure to risk by driving older vehicles, with fewer modern safety devices (e.g. no airbags, no headrest). However, it must not be ignored that the most popular cars among youngsters (the cheaper ones) also have less powerful engines. This may decrease their risk. Moreover, young people often drive their parents' cars, because they do not own their own car yet. Possibly this car has better safety features than the cars which most youngsters can afford. However, the possible negative contribution of car type to risk cannot be determined yet, because of the absence of studies in this field.