A significant number of young drivers regularly take extreme risks, such as overtaking when the view ahead is not clear and driving under the influence of illegal drugs.
The news comes just weeks after Fleet News revealed the extent of drug-driving and the need for fleet managers to seriously consider mandatory drug testing of drivers.
Research just published reveals that 11% of young motorists aged between 17 and 25 regularly drive while under the influence of illegal drugs.
The survey of 4,600 drivers, carried out by road safety charity Brake and Green Flag, also discovered that one in three young drivers overtake when they can’t see what’s coming in the opposite direction.
And these are not one-off “moments of madness”: one in six drivers under 25 overtake blind once a week or more and one in five use a hand-held mobile at the wheel once a week or more.
As a result of this culture of risk-taking, a disproportionate number of young drivers are killed – more than 14 young people die every week on the roads.
Now fleets with younger drivers are being urged to manage this high-risk group.
Dr Will Murray, research director at Interactive Driving Systems, said: “This is an important issue that lots of companies are grappling with at present.
“Young drivers need to be treated in a similar way to all other drivers – the risks need to be addressed and managed accordingly.”
Assessing young drivers’ abilities and attitudes is essential so that potentially “at risk” drivers can be identified and preventive measures taken.
BT, for example, carries out in-vehicle induction and apprentice training for all its young drivers, as well as vehicle familiarisation courses.
Driving a van for the first time is a particular problem for many young drivers.
Mr Murray explained: “Inexperienced and first-time van drivers being unfamiliar with the vehicles they are being asked to drive is a recurring road safety theme.”
At a national conference, held to formulate a national strategy to manage young drivers, Brake urged the Government to publish its consultation on novice drivers and cut casualties.