Number of under-17s involved in accidents rises to four-year high

Number of under-17s involved in accidents rises to four-year high
Concern is growing around underage driving as figures reveal that the number of under-17s involved in crashes has shot up to a four-year high.

In total, 91 young men and women were in control of a vehicle during accidents last year, analysis of Department for Transport (DfT) data by the Press Association has found.

The figure is the highest since 2011, when 103 such incidents were recorded, and an increase of around 30% compared with last year.

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Separate analysis by motoring research charity the RAC Foundation found that more than half (49) of the underage drivers involved in crashes last year were injured, including one who was killed and 11 seriously hurt.

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The accidents also resulted in 48 passenger and pedestrian casualties, including two who were killed and eight seriously injured.

The minimum age for driving a car in Britain is 17.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “Anyone who thinks of driving below the legal age limit as joy-riding should think again.

“Not only are underage drivers a massive risk to themselves, last year they also caused the death or injury of at least 48 other people.

“That's an unacceptable human toll for those directly involved, while the resulting financial costs then fall on motorists legally on the roads through having to meet higher insurance premiums.”

There has also been a rise in the number of crashes involving motorcycle riders.

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The figure is now at its joint highest level since current DfT records began five years ago, with some 48 accidents involving under-16s in 2015.

This is up 37% on the year before and saw 42 of the youngsters injured, including 19 seriously.

The accidents resulted in 12 passenger and pedestrian casualties, including six who were seriously injured.

The minimum age for obtaining a licence to ride a moped is 16.

Recent findings released separately by Swansea University’s Centre for Innovative Ageing found that young drivers may pose a greater safety risk on the road than their older counterparts.

In the study, males aged between 17 and 21 are three to four times more likely to crash than older men or women in their 70s or older.

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.