New research has revealed the British rural roads on which young drivers are most likely to have car crashes. Figures from the AA Charitable Trust show 71 percent of all fatal crashes involving young drivers occur on rural roads, with the A229 in Kent and the A6076 in County Durham proving the most dangerous.
Overall, the research showed young drivers aged between 17 and 24 are over-represented in rural crashes by nine percent relative to all roads. That over-representation is highest for those aged 17 (27 percent), but it decreases with every subsequent year. Young drivers were also found to be two percent more likely to die and 15 percent more likely to suffer a serious injury when involved in a crash on a rural road.
The study also revealed the proportion of crashes on rural roads on Sundays is 24 percent higher for young drivers than it is for other drivers. And young drivers are also more likely to be involved in a single-vehicle collision on rural roads.
According to the data, the A229 in Kent is the most dangerous road by collision density, while the A6076 ranks highest by percentage of all crashes. The A2 in Kent, A3 in Surrey and A1 in Hertfordshire also featured among the worst roads by collision density, while the A704 in West Lothian, A419 in Gloucestershire and A388 in Cornwall were all among the worst by percentage of all crashes.
AA president Edmund King said the research proved how dangerous rural roads could be for young drivers, and expressed a desire to improve education for young and inexperienced motorists.
“This ground-breaking analysis shows, for the first time, the most dangerous rural roads for young drivers as well as an in-depth study of contributory factors involved in those crashes,” he said. “Many young drivers and indeed parents are unaware that rural roads pose a specific and significant risk to young drivers and potentially are much more dangerous than motorways or urban roads. Seventy-one percent of fatal car crashes involving young drivers take place on rural roads. The research should help target driver education at the times and places young drivers are most at risk.
“Our data clearly shows that the rural road risk is highest for the youngest drivers on our roads and decreases with each year of age. This is a clear sign greater education and exposure to rural roads helps alleviate the risks they pose. This is just the first stage in what we plan to be an ongoing campaign to really improve the education of young drivers on rural roads.”
Meanwhile Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it was “essential” that the government should make drivers aware of the dangers posed on country roads.
“Rural roads are often narrow with blind bends, which is why it’s essential we raise awareness among young people on how to drive safely on them,” he said. “I strongly support the AA in their work to improve the education of drivers. Our award-winning Think! campaign challenges social norms among younger drivers – including attitudes to speeding and driving on rural roads – and I look forward to working together to prevent further tragedies.”