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UK’s deadliest roads for young drivers revealed in interactive AA map

Most dangerous roads for young drivers revealed: Seven in ten fatal crashes with 17-to-24-year-olds occur on rural routes – this interactive map plots the deadliest

  • Analysis of crash data shows that 71% of fatal accidents involving young drivers occur on rural roads
  • Speed is the major cause in accidents, though the routes also tend to have poor surfaces and blind bends
  • A229 in Kent has the highest collision density; A6076 in County Durham poses the greatest risk overall
  • A new interactive map created by AA Charitable Trust plots the most dangerous routes to raise awareness
  • Information will be shared with local authorities responsible for the deadliest roads in hope of improvements

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A new interactive map has for the first time plotted the roads that pose the greatest danger to young drivers.

It has been created by The AA Charitable Trust to help raise awareness that 71 per cent of fatal crashes involving drivers aged 17-to-24 years of age occur on rural routes.

The A229 in Kent has the highest collision density among young motorists, with the A6076 in County Durham posing the greatest risk to them overall.

If you are unable to view the interactive map on a smartphone or tablet you can access it here

The ground-breaking new study highlights that drivers aged 17-to-24 are over-represented in rural crashes by 9 per cent, relative to all roads, with the over-representation highest for those aged 17 (27 per cent) and decreasing with every subsequent year.

Rural roads are the most dangerous type in our country for all drivers, with speed often being the major cause in accidents.  

Many of these routes are narrow and are made up of blind bends and brows as well as having limited safe places to pass – all of which combine to create a particularly dangerous mix for inexperienced motorists.  

They often don’t have pavements or cycle paths, yet are frequently used by some of the most vulnerable road users, including horse riders and ramblers, as well as slow-moving farm vehicles.

The tarmac is usually riddled with potholes and generally in a poor state of repair, and trees and high bushes mean patchy wet surfaces after rainfall, resulting in inconsistent grip levels.

The AA Charitable Trust has created to interactive map as part of efforts to raise awareness to youngsters and their parents that 71% of fatal crashes involving drivers aged 17-to-24 years of age occur on rural routes (stock image)

All of these factors make them the most lethal in the country, with the most common crash types on rural roads being collisions at intersections, head-on shunts and drivers running off the road.

Based on road casualty data for the years 2013 to 2018, young drivers face a higher risk of death (2 per cent) or serious injury (15.2 per cent) when involved in a crash on a rural road compared to an urban road (0.6 per cent and 11.3 per cent respectively). 

That’s according to the analysis of 74,919 cases of young drivers involved in crashes of all injury severities on a rural road during the six-year period. 

Top 10 most dangerous rural roads for young drivers 

MOST DANGEROUS BY COLLISION DENSITY

1. A229 in Kent

2. A2 in Kent

3. A3 in Surrey

4. A1 in Hertfordshire

5. A243 in Surrey

6. A414 in Hertfordshire

7. A1 in Wakefield

8. A322 in Surrey

9. A249 in Kent

10. A595 in Cumbria

(The number of crashes involving young drivers per kilometre, indicating the young driver collision density) 

MOST DANGEROUS BY % OF ALL CRASHES 

1. A6076 in County Durham

2. A704 in West Lothian

3. A419 in Gloucestershire

4. A388 in Cornwall

=5. A41 in Hertfordshire

=5. A846 in Argyll & Bute

=7. A5093 in Cumbria

=7. A885 in Argyll & Bute

=7. A4068 in Powys

=7. A436 in Gloucestershire

(The percentage of crashes which involved young drivers, indicating the crash risk relative to that of other drivers)

Source: AA Charitable Trust, Agilysis and the Road Safety Foundation based on road traffic casualty data for 2013-2018

The A229 in Kent - the most dangerous rural route by collision density - is 29 miles of twisting road with plenty of blind corners hidden by high trees and bushes

The A229 in Kent – the most dangerous rural route by collision density – is 29 miles of twisting road with plenty of blind corners hidden by high trees and bushes

The A6076 in County Durham is said to pose the greatest risk to young drivers overall. You can see by this Google Maps image that in low sunlight, the combination of blind bends and junctions means motorists need to be extra vigilant in difficult conditions

The A6076 in County Durham is said to pose the greatest risk to young drivers overall. You can see by this Google Maps image that in low sunlight, the combination of blind bends and junctions means motorists need to be extra vigilant in difficult conditions

The AA’s new report shows that the proportion of crashes on rural roads on Sundays is almost a quarter higher for young drivers than it is for other drivers. Young drivers are also at a higher risk of a single vehicle collision on rural roads, it says. 

The motoring group says the data will be shared with relevant and interested local authorities to help highlight those roads which appear to pose the greatest risk in hope that they can be improved.

Edmund King, AA Charitable Trust director, said: ‘Many young drivers and indeed parents are unaware that rural roads pose a specific and significant risk to young drivers and potentially are much more dangerous than motorways or urban roads.  

‘Our data clearly shows that the rural road risk is highest for the youngest drivers on our roads and decreases with each year of age. This is a clear sign greater education and exposure to rural roads helps alleviate the risks they pose.

‘This is just the first stage in what we plan to be an ongoing campaign to really improve the education of young drivers on rural roads.’

The AA Charitable Trust says the data will be shared with relevant and interested local authorities to help highlight those roads which appear to pose the greatest risk in hope that they can be improved (stock image)

The AA Charitable Trust says the data will be shared with relevant and interested local authorities to help highlight those roads which appear to pose the greatest risk in hope that they can be improved (stock image)

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, added: ‘I strongly support the AA in their work to improve the education of drivers. Our award-winning THINK! campaign challenges social norms among younger drivers – including attitudes to speeding and driving on rural roads –and I look forward to working together to prevent further tragedies.’

Sally Lines OBE chief executive at The Road Safety Trust – which funded the creation of the interactive map – said: ‘It is important to be able to clearly identify risks to young drivers on rural roads and take steps forward to address those, whether it is through education, infrastructure improvements, or both.

‘We want to make UK roads safer for all road users and these findings provide the platform to be able to help reduce the risk of death or serious injury to young drivers.’ 

Fact file: Young driver crashes on rural roads 

• July, August, October and November most concerning months for crashes involving young drivers on rural roads

• Proportion of crashes involving young drivers which are on Sundays is 9% higher on rural roads than on urban roads

• Single vehicle collisions account for 27 per cent of all young driver crashes on rural roads compared to 16% for drivers of all ages.

• Substance impairment attributed to a young driver in 9% of young driver rural road crashes on Sundays compared to an average of 4% on other days



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