British study suggests that older drivers are safer drivers

Contrary to the findings of the Japanese Metropolitan Police, a new study has just been released in Britain which suggests that older drivers are not dangerous on the roads. The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) data shows that older drivers actually become less of a risk than drivers under the age of thirty. Unfortunately, though, drivers over the age of seventy are more likely to be seriously injured when they do get into an accident. Neil Greig, director of the IAM Motoring Trust suggests that older drivers self-regulate themselves as they realize their abilities are weakening.
Still, the U.K. requires drivers over seventy to renew their licenses every three years, but it's up to the driver to report any physical conditions that could impair their driving. The U.K. government is considering adding new testing requirements for drivers over the age of seventy-five.

In other news, ninety-one percent of teen drivers consider themselves safe, though only 34-percent would say the same for their friends. Feel free to scare yourself by reading an entire press release of teen-driving statistics after the break.

[Sources: What Car, Erie Insurance]

Survey reveals teen attitudes about friends' driving habits as well as their own

Despite the fact that auto crashes are the top killer of U.S. teens, a recent survey by Erie Insurance and Lookin' Out, the company's teen driving awareness program, reveals that most teens consider themselves to be good drivers. But while most respondents (91 percent) believe they're driving safely, their other answers told a different story.

The survey, conducted in spring 2008 among 2127 licensed drivers aged 16-19 at 16 Lookin' Out participant schools, revealed a number of risky behaviors.

* Cell phone use among teens is high (76 percent regularly talk on a cell phone while driving).
* Text messaging while driving is common among teens (57 percent sometimes or often read or send text messages while driving).
* Most teens (93 percent) play loud music when they drive.
* Nearly half (48 percent) admit they're easily distracted when friends are passengers.

"These survey results also reveal a real discrepancy between how students perceive their own driving behaviors and how they judge others' habits behind the wheel," said Mark Dombrowski, Public Relations supervisor at Erie Insurance.

While 91 percent consider themselves good drivers, only about a third (34 percent) say their friends are good drivers. And nearly all (97 percent) of the respondents reported seeing other teens taking risks (speeding, not wearing seatbelts, etc.) while driving.

According to the National Safety Council, young drivers aged 15 to 20 are involved in fatal traffic crashes at more than twice the rate as the rest of the population. The Erie Insurance-created Lookin' Out program, which has 72 participating schools for the current school year, is unlike other teen driving programs because it's rooted in positive peer influence.

"Each activity is created by teenagers for their peers," added Dombrowski. "We believe that helping to make teenagers better drivers will make the roads safer for everyone."

Lookin' Out schools create and implement activities to address the risks covered in the survey, such as:

* Seat belt use
* Speeding or reckless behavior
* Limiting the number of passengers in the car
* Alcohol and drug use, and their effects on driving
* Eliminating distractions such as cell phones and loud music

"Teens need to be aware of the dangers and avoid taking unnecessary risks while driving," said John Brinling, Erie Insurance president & CEO. "And it's equally important that they avoid riding with others who are engaging in risky behaviors such as speeding, text-messaging or driving under the influence."

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