The FINANCIAL -- Illegal street racing: engines revving up at stop lights, risky maneuvers and a willful disregard for the law. Drag racing is becoming more and more popular among young adults, so a recent study by the Allianz Center for Technology (AZT). Of the 17- to 24-year-old drivers surveyed, 38 percent reported having participated in a drag race and 41 percent described their driving style as being sporty or offensive; 51 percent reported being careful or defensive drivers. One in every five young adults, or 18 percent, drives a suped-up car. An additional three percent admitted to having modified engine performance.
Despite the study’s results, long-term statistics point to an increasingly positive trend. The number of fatal automobile accidents involving 18- to 24-year olds actually decreased by nearly two thirds per 100,000 inhabitants (66 percent) between 2003 and 2013. In comparison, traffic fatalities involving 25- to 64-year-old drivers decreased by only 50 percent. In addition, the percentage of personal injury accidents among young adult drivers declined from 28 to 22 percent.
These statistics, however, only reflect accidents involving personal injury. According to the German Federal Statistics Office (Destatis), 18- to 24-year olds are responsible for the most number of accidents overall. To put it into perspective, only 7.7 percent of all drivers in Germany are between the ages of 18 and 24 (34,351 drivers). However, 36 percent of all speeding accidents in Germany (30,489) involve young adult drivers (11,001 drivers).
A lack of experience and driving older cars are not the only risk factors. Many young drivers are not willing to adhere to traffic regulations. That is not to say that all young adults are speeders. However, the disproportionate number of accidents involving novice drivers indicates that current measures to counter young driver risk, such as educational campaigns and the latest automotive technology, are not enough to guarantee safety.
“There is an urgent need to give policemen better tools to combat the intentional disregard for the law and punish serious traffic offenders,” says accident researcher Dr. Jörg Kubitzki from the AZT.