Research shows that worldwide, car crashes are the leading cause of death among young people, with a higher proportion dying on the roads during the summer.
According to a survey of 6,500 young Europeans, commissioned by Ford, the summer period has a significantly increased risk with almost two thirds of young people saying they are more relaxed with their driving during the holiday months.
In Europe, this segment accounts for eight per cent of the total population, but 15% of all those killed in road accidents. In the summertime, the problem gets worse as 18-24-year-olds account for 21% of all deaths on the road in summer.
The majority of young driver fatalities involve young men, and the Ford survey confirms they are more likely to engage in risky behaviour - which has been identified as a key factor behind the statistics. Between 2004 and 2013, 62,000 young people were killed in road accidents in the European Union.
According to the report by European Road Safety Observatory, poor reading of the road, impairment from substances or stress and distraction are among the most common factors in accidents involving young drivers.
The survey also revealed that young drivers in the UK are the most likely in Europe to be distracted by attractive pedestrians.
Furthermore, 57% admitted to exceeding speed limits, 43% have sent a text while driving and 36% have taken calls and sent instant messages.
More than half (57%) of young drivers also admit they drive more safely with parents or grandparents in the car, and 41% said they would take more risks with friends in the car.
More worryingly, 16% have driven without wearing their seatbelts, 13% have driven after drinking, and up to 11% have watched videos or TV shows on their devices behind the wheel.
A total of 93% consider they have good driving skills – but 54% admit they are not always as safe as they should be while driving.
Ford offers free training for young drivers with Ford ‘Driving Skills for Life’ (DSFL). In Europe, by the end of 2016, the programme will have trained more than 20,000 drivers across 13 countries.
Jim Graham, manager of Ford DSFL, said: “Summer is a great time to enjoy the freedom of driving, which is as much a part of being young today as it was for previous generations. But too many young adults are dying in car crashes caused by a combination of inexperience and poor decision making.”
“It is crucial that we find the right way to reach young people with these very important messages and to ensure that as many drivers as possible have the opportunity to benefit from DSFL training,” Graham added.