ABI: Pump down the volume, slow down and concentrate

Pump down the volume, slow down and concentrate – ABI urges young drivers to “Be safe and be alert” during the bad weather

New research by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) shows that 55% of young drivers are distracted while driving if they are carrying passengers, 45% by the scenery and 44% by the radio – while around a quarter said they would find acceptable to speed at night (24%) or on country roads (26%).

James Dalton, the ABI’s Head of Motor, said:

“Many young drivers who are not yet experienced behind the wheel find it hard to concentrate when driving, let alone during the bad weather we are experiencing throughout the UK. At this time of year the driving distractions and dangers come thick and fast: driving in the dark and in difficult weather conditions such as in heavy rain, snow or ice and often with friends or family in car. That is why the ABI is urging young drivers to be alert and stay safe especially when driving with friends at night. The ABI is leading the campaign for Safe Young Drivers to bring down accident rates on the roads.”

Top tips for parents of young drivers. Advise your son or daughter to:

Plan a route if possible that avoids dark, winding country roads, where there is a higher chance of an accident. A quarter of young drivers think it is acceptable to speed on a country road, however, young drivers driving on rural roads are 37% more likely to be involved in a crash compared to young drivers driving in urban areas.

Think about whether they need to drive their friends at night. Over half of all young drivers admit to being distracted when they have friends in the car. If they are driving friends at night this could lead to further distractions, especially if it is dark and on unfamiliar roads.  Is there any other option for them to get home, such as chipping in for a taxi or a parent picking them up? Studies from the USA show that a young driver is three times more likely to be killed in a crash if carrying three or more passengers.

·         Turn the stereo off, especially if they driving with friends in the car, at night or in bad weather conditions when they need to concentrate more.  Our research found that nearly half (44%) young drivers had been distracted by music.

·         Never drink and drive. The highest proportion of breath test failures following accidents involving casualties occurred with drivers aged under 25.

Don’t use a mobile phone to call, text, or use aps.  Nearly a third of young drivers were distracted by their mobile phones while driving. Despite the fact that using a hand-held mobile phone is illegal.

Slow down.

The single biggest cause of accidental death of young people aged 15-24 is getting in a car and dying in a crash.  The Campaign for Safe Young Drivers wants radical change to the driving test system – to make the roads safer for under 25s and everyone else.

We’re calling for:

One year minimum learning period

Limiting the number of passengers allowed in a car with a new young driver

Curfew on night time driving

Zero tolerance on alcohol


Notes for Editors

1.        Enquiries to:
Malcolm Tarling             020 7216 7410 Mobile: 07776 147 667
Linsey White               020 7216 7415 Mobile: 07885 998 011
Adeola Ajayi               020 7216 7521 Mobile: 07725 245284

2.    Fieldwork for the survey was conducted online by YouGov between the 3rd and 12th December 2012. The survey results are based on responses from 2,500 adults aged between 18 and 70, and weighted to obtain a GB representative sample


3.    Young male drivers under 25 are most likely to fail a breath test after being involved in a crash in which someone was injured.  Table 2f, Road Casualties Great Britain 2004 (DfT, 2005)

Studies from the USA show that a young driver is three times more likely to be killed in a crash if carrying three or more passengers. Chen et al (2000) “Carrying Passengers as a Risk Factor for Crashes Fatal to 16-17-Year-Old Drivers”, Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol 283 No.12, pp1578 – 1582

4.    The ABI is the voice of the UK’s insurance, investment and long-term savings industry. It has over 300 members, which together account for around 90% of premiums in the UK domestic market.

The ABI’s role is to:

–       Be the voice of the UK insurance industry, leading debate and speaking up for insurers.

–       Represent the UK insurance industry to government, regulators and policy makers in the UK, EU and internationally, driving effective public policy and regulation.

–       Advocate high standards of customer service within the industry and provide useful information to the public about insurance.

–       Promote the benefits of insurance to the government, regulators, policy makers and the public.

The UK insurance industry is the third largest in the world and the largest in Europe. It is a vital part of the UK economy, managing investments amounting to 26% of the UK’s net worth and contributing the fourth highest corporation tax of any sector. Employing over 290,000 people in the UK alone, the insurance industry is also one of this country’s major exporters, with 28% of its net premium income coming from overseas business.

Insurance and businesses protect themselves against the everyday risks they face, enabling people to own their own homes, travel overseas, provide for a financially secure future and run businesses. Insurance underpins a healthy and prosperous society, enabling businesses and individuals to thrive, safe in the knowledge that problems can be handled and risks carefully managed. Every day, our members pay out £147 million in benefits to pensioners and long-term savers as well as £60 million in general insurance claims.

5.        An ISDN line is available for broadcasts.

6.        More news and information from the ABI is available on our web site, www.abi.org.uk.

Kelly Ostler-Coyle
Senior Media Relations Officer
Operations Directorate

T: 020 7216 7375
M: 07968 364 302 / BB: 07720 496872
Follow the ABI on Twitter @BritishInsurers

Association of British Insurers
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