New drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident in the first few years after passing their test.
This is often due to a mixture of inexperience, over-confidence, and younger drivers being more likely to take risks.
At ALA we carried out some research into accidents involving new drivers. Using Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and conducting a national survey, we examined new driver accident rates in the first year of driving and the costs involved.
New Driver Accidents and Expenses
According to our national survey data, more than one in five new drivers admitted to having an accident in their first year of driving. Based on the driving test pass rate in the UK between April 2016 and March 2017, this equates to an estimated 176,000 new drivers being involved in an accident in the same timeframe.
On a regional basis, Scotland, the North East and the West Midlands were the top three regions with the highest percentage of new driver accidents. Coventry, Chelmsford, and Aberdeen were the individual cities which saw the highest number of accidents involving new drivers within the first year of driving.
At the other end of the scale, the North West, Wales and the East Midlands were the regions that had the fewest new driver accidents in 2016/17. At a city level, Aberystwyth, Gloucester, Southampton and Swansea had the lowest number of accidents involving new drivers.
As well as being faced with some of the highest insurance premiums, new driver accidents can be expensive to deal with too. Nearly two-thirds (65.73%) of new drivers who had an accident in their first year of driving incurred an expense due to damaging either their own or someone else’s vehicle. Almost a third incurred an expense of over £400, while for one in ten it was more than £1,000.
Portsmouth and Coventry were the two cities with the largest average expense due to new driver accidents, at £3,750 and £2,326 respectively. Added to the cost of buying a first car, insurance and more, this could have a severe impact on an individual’s finances.
There were notable differences between the new driver accident rates for males and females, with about one in five new female drivers involved in accidents, compared to almost one in four new male drivers. Of these new drivers who had accidents, a similar number of both genders incurred an expense due to an accident in their first year (67.8% of female drivers and 63.25% of males).
For incident-related expenses over £1,000, the percentage for women (13.55%) was more than double that of men (6.12%).
New Driver Issues
As well as large expenses new drivers are also getting points on their licences and even being disqualified from driving, giving some indication of the potential severity of their driving errors.
Based on Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, the number of new drivers who were either disqualified from driving or received points on their licence in their first year were highest in the following locations:
|Town/City||Number of prosecuted “new drivers”|
Using this information, we then analysed the data as a percentage against 2016/17 passes in the specific areas, to find representational figures.