Young People Are Our Future

12 May 2022 News & Campaigns
Among the worst news that a parent could ever imagine receiving is hearing that their son or daughter has lost their life in a traffic accident. This is naturally so when their children are very young – but no less so when they are novice drivers. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle,traffic accidents are the most frequent cause of fatalities among young people aged 15 to 24 around theworld. This is particularly the case for young men. In 2019 (the year for which there are currently the latest figures from the IHME), an estimated 175,000 people between 15 and 24 years of age died in traffic accidents worldwide. Around 80 percent of these were men. Globally, this age group accounted for around 15 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2019.
These figures alone should already be an unequivocal mandate for all parties involved to take countermeasures using all conceivable means. As we will show in this report, there are plenty of areas where action can be taken – first and foremost in the areas of the human factor and technology. For novice drivers , some of the greatest risk factors include a lack of driving experience, overconfidence, insufficient vehicle control, limited hazard perception, distraction from what is happening on the road, for example through using digital media, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. All of these are problem areas that merit even more focus than has previously been the case, not least in the context of driver training.
To demonstrate how important it is for vehicles to be in good technical condition, we conducted several test drives in our Technology Center at the DEKRA Lausitzring. Once again, it was proven that stable contact between the tires and the road – regardless of the weather or road conditions – is particularly crucial. Only then can it be guaranteed that assistance systems, such as ABS and ESP, will be effective. Given that many young drivers very often drive older vehicles, mainly for financial reasons, periodical technical inspection remains a key aspect of road safety. Aging, wear, and often a lack of awareness about technical faults as well as skimping on repairs and maintenance inevitably mean that older cars usually exhibit significant defects more frequently, and thus present a greater accident risk than newer cars.
In the individual sections of this report, we explain in detail what approaches should be taken, and how, to ensure that young people everywhere are better protected when they are on the road, especially when driving a car or riding a motorbike. As in previous reports, we have analyzed various statistics for this purpose and explored research findings in great depth. And once again, this latest report is far more than just a collection of facts about the current situation, but rather, we want it to get people thinking and provide advice for politicians, traffic and infrastructure experts, manufacturers, scientific institutions, associations, and all road users. The fact that various renowned national and international experts have again agreed to provide statements, in which they report on their respective experiences and any measures taken, underscores how important our report is in specialist circles. DEKRA has been committed to the goal of ensuring maximum road safety for all since it was established almost 100 years ago – and the work continues.