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Novice drivers

In developed countries, traffic accidents are the main cause of death among 15-24 year olds.

Greater risks

Young learner driver at the wheel of a car with an instructorThe fatality rate of drivers aged 15-24 is up to twice as high as that of more experienced drivers.

And the risk is not just to themselves - for every young driver killed in a crash, an average of 1.3 other people also die.

Accidents involving young drivers are often caused by loss of control or speeding and are more likely to happen at night.

Saving young lives

To reduce the risk of accidents, new drivers could be made subject to tighter controls than experienced ones: lower alcohol limits and restrictions on driving at night or without an experienced driver.

And they could be helped by technologies such as driver assistant systems, alcohol interlocks and black boxes.

EU projects on novice driver safety

The EU is striving to increase the safety of novice drivers by shifting the focus of driving lessons from vehicle control and traffic perception to how to recognise and avoid dangers on the road.

For example, the EU-funded HERMES project has published a package to improve training for driving instructors, with a view to reducing accidents.

And in the Close to project, young people learning to drive are exposed to stories of severe road accidents. Research shows this makes them less likely to engage in risky and reckless driving.