A quarter of young drivers have driven a car without insurance, an MOT certificate, or even a driver's licence, and even more break the speed limit, research from Co-operative car insurance has found.
As part of its '2 Young 2 Die' campaign, run in association with road safety charity Brake, Co-operative Insurance discovered that a significant number of young drivers choose to continue driving illegally, despite the potentially fatal consequences.
Despite the numerous road safety campaigns which illustrate the devastating affects of driving irresponsibly, 35 per cent of young drivers said they regularly break the speed limit, while 26 per cent admitted that they race their friends through city streets.
Almost half of young drivers said they drive whilst talking or texting on their mobile phones, 18 per cent admitted to overtaking on blind bends and other dangerous driving tactics, the dangers of which are highlighted by the 5 per cent that fail to wear a seat belt.
Such behaviour contributed to the 26,034 young people who were seriously injured in roadside crashes in 2008, with a further 204,871 suffering minor injuries, according to a study by Co-operative car insurance.
Commenting on the statistics, David Neave, general insurance director at The Co-operative Insurance, said: "We believe that more needs to be done to make young drivers more aware of the deadly consequences of irresponsible driving and to highlight the drastic consequences flouting the law can have. In partnership with the Government we believe that the car insurance industry has a vital role to play in tackling irresponsible driving."
Cathy Keeler, deputy chief executive of Brake, added: "It's shocking that so many young people take such appalling risks when driving. In reality their inexperience and risk-taking makes them most likely to be responsible for killing or injuring others on the road."
She urges young people to take the responsibility of driving seriously, ensuring they have young drivers' car insurance and that they drive legally at all times. "Following this commonsense approach to driving and avoiding the risks outlined on www.2young2die.org.uk will help keep them safe on the road," she said.
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