Confirmed: Young drivers score worst in dangerous driving

By Sheena Amos

Illustrative image of bad road habits

DUBAI 3 April 2019: According to Ministry of Interior (MOI) data published earlier, 45 per cent of all road accidents UAE-wide have been caused by young drivers – and even 63 per cent in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi – as well as 34 per cent of all road traffic fatalities.

These data illustrate the vital importance of understanding the root causes of young driver behavior and to address them accordingly. Although the official MOI figures refer to the broader age bracket of 18-30 years old drivers, we want to focus on the novice driver segment of 18-24 years.

The problem is not a UAE specific one alone, as the UN mentions that the young novice driver segment is greatly over-represented in crash and traffic fatality statistics. They pose a greater risk to themselves, their passengers and other road users. Death rates for 18-24 years old drivers typically remain more than double those of older drivers.

UAE’s MOI stated, that the main causes for accidents within this age group are speeding, using phones behind the wheel and not keeping a safe distance between vehicles. Young drivers score worst in many dimensions of reckless driving when compared with older drivers.

• Young drivers cause the majority of UAE road accidents
• Young drivers score worst in many dimensions of dangerous driving
• Lowest levels of seat belt use and knowledge of the new seat belt law
• Stakeholder engagement is key to protect young drivers

It seems only with experience and when growing older, UAE’s motorists adjust their behavior and drive safer, says RoadSafetyUAE.

Here are some selected data points linking young driver behavior to the main causes of accidents on UAE roads:

Thomas Edelmann, Managing Director RoadSafetyUAE states: “Simply put, young drivers behave more dangerously and protect themselves less than older and more experienced motorists. Young drivers are significantly more distracted, tailgate more, use their indicators and their seat belts less than the average motorist.

“When probed for the reasons for their behavior, some patterns crystalize: running late is a key ingredient both in speeding and tailgating. A lack of a caring attitude can be observed by statements like having less empathy for tailgated motorists, indicating less out of habit or not wanting to appear inexperienced, less demanding towards passengers and children to use their seat belts, which is coupled with a significantly lower level of knowledge about the new seat belt law.”

Stakeholders interacting with young motorists need to be cognizant of their vulnerability and need to engage with them to protect them by passing on their experience of safe conduct on our roads. In this context we refer to driving institutes, young novice drivers’ parents and families, schools and universities, their friends and peers.