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The first United Nations Global Road Safety Week is launched today (April 23) focusing on young road users. Road crashes are the number one killer of people in their teens and twenties in the UK, and second only to HIV/AIDS as a killer of young men worldwide (1) yet research reveals that more young drivers than older drivers think they are safer drivers than others behind the wheel (2).

The research from breakdown specialist Green Flag and national road safety charity Brake reveals that over half of drivers (55 per cent) aged 17-24 years think they are safer than most behind the wheel. And although young drivers are more likely to take risks such as speeding than older drivers, only one per cent of young drivers surveyed said that they are more dangerous than most (3).

According to the research, seven-out-of-ten (69 per cent) people think there should be restrictions on young drivers (4) such as curfews and limits on the number of young passengers allowed in the car. Despite only one-in-eight drivers being under the age of 25, this age group accounts for a quarter of all road crashes making young drivers especially at risk on the roads (5).

A second survey by Green Flag found that almost a third of drivers aged between 17 and 24 years, know someone who takes illegal drugs and frequently drives. Worryingly, almost a third had been a passenger in a car when they knew the driver had taken illegal drugs(6), even though driving under the influence of drugs – whether legal or illegal – is considered just as dangerous as drink driving.

Philippa Naylor, spokesperson for Green Flag, said: “The research shows that young drivers do have a tendency to think they are safe drivers even though the statistics show they are more at risk. As the first UN Global Road Safety Week launches, it’s an opportune time for road users of all ages across the world to think about driving more carefully and reducing the number of needless deaths on the roads.”

Jools Townsend, head of education at Brake said: “We hope Global Road Safety Week will help highlight the impact of road casualties around the world and the need for urgent action. Nationally and internationally, the issue of road safety has been on the back-burner for far too long. It is high time UK and world leaders made making roads safe a top priority.”

Green Flag is a corporate partner of national road safety charity, Brake, and the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), who are both involved in UN Global Road Safety Week.

For more information on safer driving and the research visit www.greenflag.com

ENDS

Notes to editors:

·Green Flag Motoring Assistance provides roadside rescue and recovery to 5m customers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

·Brake is an independent national road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the nine deaths and 89 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes.

·UN Global Road Safety Week is April 23 – 29. For more information visit www.who.int/roadsafety/week/en/index

Media calls

For further information contact Philippa Naylor or Nigel Charlesworth at Green Flag on 0113 399 1387/1427 (out of hours 07711 964 615).

Email: Public-relations@greenflag.com

www.greenflag.com

Sources:

1. Mathers c, Loncar D. Updated projections of global mortality and burden on disease, 2002-2030: data sources, methods and results, WHO, October 2005

2.The Green Flag Report on Safe Driving Part Six - produced by Brake.

3.The Green Flag Report on Safe Driving Part Six - produced by Brake.

4.The Green Flag Report on Safe Driving Part Three - produced by Brake.

5.Transport Research & Statistics Department, Department for Transport 2004

6.Tickbox.net survey commissioned by Green Flag - sample base: 620, conducted November 27- December 5 2006.







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