Young drivers in 25% crashes where people hurt/killed
Quarter of injuries/deaths on roads are people between ages of 16 and 24, says Transport Canada
After two deadly crashes Wednesday involving teens driving on Nova Scotia’s roads, some say the fact that young drivers are more likely to get into crashes is tragic but not a surprise.
According to Transport Canada, a quarter of injuries or deaths on the road are people between the ages of 16 and 24.
"I've actually been in two accidents myself," said Adrian Morris, 20. "Maybe I should have taken the young drivers course. I'm here today taking the defensive driving course. It's a good idea, my parents pushed me to do it."
Nick MacIsaac, 19, said he sees dangerous behaviour all the time.
"They don't pay attention ... I see a lot of my friends texting and driving, calling and driving, and stuff like that, or blaring the music too loud messing around with the stereo. When I drive with mom and dad it's [not like that]," he said.
While not every young driver may be reckless, MacIsaac said many young people can't wait for the freedom that comes with driving.
"I have a few friends that have been in accidents, showing off and stuff. They like to go really fast because their parents just got them a new car and stuff, I have a few friends that got charges for stunting," he said.
52 fatalities on N.S. roads so far this year
Last year marked the most deadly on Nova Scotia roads in the last five years with 83 fatalities. So far in 2013 there have been a total of 52 fatalities, five more than the same time last year — eight of which involved motorcycles.
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Maurice Smith said the current trend is so worrisome that the province is planning to launch a special ad campaign and is in the process of setting up a two day workshop for young drivers.
"To try to educate young people about the necessity to be careful, to wear your seatbelt, not to drink and drive, to watch your speed — all those kinds of things. So that's what the aim is, to educate because that's the only way you're going to stop this," he said.
Driving instructor Mike Tops said teenage drivers don't worry as much about getting hurt.
"Well young people tend to be a little overconfident in most cases and when they get overconfident they want to drive more aggressively, and that aggressive nature tends to leave to more prominent incidents," said Tops.
He said watching out for everyone else is as important as knowing the rules of the road. He tries to stress slowing down before intersections and not rushing to hit the speed limit.
Tops said he has seen progress though.
"Kids, and students in general, are more proactive to the fact that if something happens I'm in this car too. Some will actually speak up for their own safety," said Tops
"The whole mindset around one's own safety and protecting oneself and your friends is starting to come into play."
Some driving courses can help offset the cost of insurance and help people earn a unrestricted licence.
But Tops said there's no replacement for experience behind the wheel. He said good driving is a skill that can take years to develop.