Young rural drivers at risk

YOUNG country drivers are more likely to crash and die than their city mates, according to Australia's largest study of young drivers.

A new report by The George Institute for International Health found young drivers in rural locations were at a much higher risk of having single vehicle crashes, which often result in death or serious injury.

More than 20,000 red P-plate drivers aged between 17 and 24 from across Australia were surveyed and monitored over a two-year period.

Long winding roads, excessive speed limits and speeding were factors that contributed to higher crash rates.

Richmond local area crime prevention officer Senior Constable Michael Hogan said speed limits were an issue on rural roads.

“There is no doubt that in this day and age with the volume of traffic they may need to look at the speed limits attributed to rural roads,” he said.

The study found city drivers were more likely to crash due to the high volume of vehicles on urban roads. But these collisions were less likely to cause serious injury compared with single vehicle crashes common on country roads.

The study recommended speeding education, better use of speed cameras, and more engineering measures to slow traffic. Associate Professor Rebecca Ivers, from the institute, said young drivers on rural roads were more likely to crash because of curved roads and speeding.

Complacency was also an issue, Senior Constable Hogan said.

“Most deaths happen within a few kilometres of people's homes because they get complacent,” he said.


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