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26 Aug 2011

Please put yourself in the shoes of a seventeen year old who’s just passed his driving test. You’ve had the obligatory celebration involving ripped up learner plates and a congratulatory balloon, and your dad has led you to the garage and handed you some keys. It’s small, it’s almost as old as you are and it smells faintly of cheap lager, but it’s yours.

The freedom that a teen’s first car enables is phenomenal, the possibilities are endless: impressing mates, pulling girls and road trips are all on the agenda. However, it seems that these concepts do not go hand in hand with proper safety procedures and correct driving technique.

Unsurprisingly, proper mirror checks and regularly checking tyre pressures aren’t particularly high on a teenage driver’s agenda. Instead the young motorist’s mind is preoccupied by racing stripes, creative use of the handbrake and how much smoke they can generate from the wheel arches.

While this may be slightly unfair on the countless young motorists who drive safely and responsibly, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has recently released a report which shows that 27 percent of all driver fatalities are caused by the 17 – 25 age bracket.

The IAM are calling for post-test training, similar to a scheme that was adopted in Austria which cut the death rate among young male drivers by a third. Of course, this wouldn’t reduce the amount of tasteless spoilers and tacky paint jobs we see on the road, but it might make teenagers take those tricky corners a bit slower, making the roads safer for everyone.


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