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1 Young Drivers 2016

2 Disclaimer All reasonable endeavours are made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this report. However, the information is provided without warranties of any kind including accuracy, completeness, timeliness or fitness for any particular purpose. The Ministry of Transport excludes liability for any loss, damage or expense, direct or indirect, and however caused, whether through negligence or otherwise, resulting from any person or organisation's use of, or reliance on, the information provided in this report. Under the terms of the New Zealand Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (BY) licence, this document, and the information contained within it, can be copied, distributed, adapted and otherwise used provided that the Ministry of Transport is attributed as the source of the material the material is not misrepresented or distorted through selective use of the material images contained in the material are not copied The terms of the Ministry s Copyright and disclaimer apply. Additional information Enquires relating to crash statistics may be directed to the Ministry of Transport, PO Box 3175, Wellington, or by on For more information about road safety, visit the Ministry of Transport website at A selection of fact sheets is available via the research section of the Ministry of Transport website. These include: Crash fact sheets Alcohol and drugs Cyclists Diverted attention Fatigue Motorcyclists Overseas drivers Pedestrians Speed Trucks Young drivers Travel survey fact sheets Comparing travel modes Cycling Driver travel Motorcycling Public transport Risk on the road Introduction and mode comparison Drivers and their passengers Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists Walking

3 Contents Contents... 3 Key facts... 4 Risk... 4 Time series... 7 Vehicle type for young drivers involved in fatal crashes... 9 Who dies? When do young driver crashes occur? Who was at fault? Crash factors Types of crash Licence status of young drivers in fatal crashes Terminology

4 Key facts In 2015 young drivers aged were involved in 90 fatal traffic crashes, 579 serious injury crashes and 2,608 minor injury crashes. Of these crashes, the year-old drivers had the primary responsibility 1 in 72 of the fatal crashes, 464 of the serious injury crashes and 1,993 of the minor injury crashes. These crashes resulted in 80 deaths, 548 serious injuries and 2,760 minor injuries. 2 The total social cost of the crashes in which year-old drivers had the primary responsibility was $951 million. This is 25 percent of the social cost associated with all injury crashes. Risk Figure 1 (from the New Zealand Household Travel Survey 3 ) shows that male drivers in the year age group are approximately eight times more likely to crash (per 100 million kilometres driven) than male drivers in the lowest risk age group of years. Female drivers aged are about six times more likely to crash (per 100 million kilometres driven) than female drivers in the lowest risk group of year olds. Drivers in the year old age group are approximately three to four times more likely to crash than the lowest risk group of the same gender. 1 The determination of primary responsibility for a crash is based on the crash movements and crash cause factors assigned in the Crash Analysis System. It is not based on legal liability or court conviction. Fault/responsibility here only considers driver and rider factors contributing to the crash. There may also be road or system factors that contributed to the crash. 2 Definitions for fatal, serious and minor injuries and social cost are given in Terminology at the end of the fact sheet

5 Figure 1: Number of drivers involved in fatal or injury crashes per 100 million km driven (bars) and per 10,000 licence holders (lines), by age and gender ( ) Drivers involved in fatal or injury crashes per 100 million km driven (bars) Female Female Age group (years) Male Male Drivers involved in fatal or injury crashes per licence holders - annual average (lines) As the graphs below illustrate, young drivers tend to be over-represented in all types of crash. Recent figures show that year-old drivers make up just 4 percent of all licensed car drivers 4. Yet, between 2013 and 2015, year-old drivers accounted for 9 percent of all drivers involved in minor injury crashes, 9 percent of drivers in serious injury crashes, and 7 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes (Figure 2). Similarly, year-old drivers make up approximately 9 percent of licensed car drivers but, between 2013 and 2015, they accounted for 15 percent of drivers involved in minor injury crashes, 14 percent of drivers in serious injury crashes, and 12 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes (Figure 2). Of all young drivers (15 24 years old) involved in fatal crashes between 2013 and 2015, 79 percent were male. Males accounted for 70 percent of young drivers involved in serious injury crashes and 63 percent of those involved in minor injury crashes over the same period. 4 The car licence population consists of drivers with full, restricted or learner car licences. (Motor Vehicle Crashes in New Zealand, 2015) 5

6 Figure 2: Young drivers as a proportion of all crash involved drivers ( ) years years Minor Crash severity Serious Fatal 0% 5% 10% 15% Percentage A high proportion (over 70 percent) of fatal crashes involving young drivers (15 24 years old) occur on the open road (speed limits over 70km/h). This is due to the typically high speeds on these roads, which results in a higher impact speed if a crash occurs. Figure 3: Percentage of all fatal crashes that involve young drivers ( ) Age group (years) years years Urban Open road 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% Percentage of fatal crashes Note: This graph includes drivers of all types of motorised vehicle, including motorcycles. Twenty-eight percent of all fatal crashes involve a driver between the ages of 15 and 24 (Figure 3). 6

7 Time series Table 1: Drivers involved in fatal and injury crashes Year Number % of all drivers in fatal crashes year old drivers year old drivers Fatal Injury Fatal Injury Number % of all Number % of all Number drivers drivers in injury in fatal crashes crashes % of all drivers in injury crashes % 3, % % 3, % % 2, % % 3, % % 2, % % 3, % % 2, % % 3, % % 2, % % 3, % % 2, % % 3, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 1, % % 1, % % 1, % % 1, % % 1, % % 1, % % 1, % % 1, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 2, % % 1, % % 2, % % 1, % % 2, % % 1, % % 2, % % 1, % % 1, % % 1, % % 2, % Note: This table includes drivers of all types of motorised vehicle, including motorcycles. In August 2011 the age for obtaining a driver licence increased from 15 to 16. 7

8 Table 2: Vehicle type and gender of young drivers involved in fatal crashes year-old drivers year-old drivers Car/van Motorcycle Car/van Motorcycle Year Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Note: In August 2011 the age for obtaining a driver licence increased from 15 to 16. 8

9 Vehicle type for young drivers involved in fatal crashes Figure 4: year old drivers involved in fatal crashes by vehicle type ( ) 160 Fatal crashes Car/Van Motorcycle Year Note: In August 2011 the age for obtaining a driver licence increased from 15 to 16. Since 1985 there has been an 74 percent reduction in the number of year old car drivers involved in fatal crashes, and a 90 percent reduction in the number of motorcycle riders in the same age group. Figure 5: year old drivers involved in fatal crashes by vehicle type ( ) 160 Fatal crashes Car/Van Motorcycle Year Since 1985 there has been a 65 percent reduction in the number of year old car drivers involved in fatal crashes, and an 91 percent reduction in the number of motorcycle riders in the same age group involved in fatal crashes. 9

10 Who dies in crashes with young drivers? People in the year old age group are most likely to die in fatal crashes in which young drivers of a similar age have the primary responsibility. Between 2013 and 2015, 71 percent of the passengers who died in vehicles driven by young at-fault drivers were in the year old age group. Table 3: Deaths in crashes where year old drivers were at fault ( ) Age At-fault drivers At-fault drivers passengers Other road users Unknown Total Note: The table includes drivers of all types of motorised vehicle, including motorcycles. When do young driver crashes occur? Table 4: Fatal crashes involving year old drivers by time of day and day of week ( ) Day Day ( ) Evening ( ) Night ( ) Fatal crashes % all fatal involving crashes young drivers Fatal crashes involving young drivers % all fatal crashes Fatal crashes % all fatal involving crashes young drivers Monday 21 28% 5 29% 2 25% Tuesday 13 19% 1 8% 5 36% Wednesday 8 12% 7 35% 12 50% Thursday 18 22% 5 24% 11 44% Friday 11 19% 14 47% 22 54% Saturday 14 20% 10 63% 20 43% Sunday 13 21% 4 29% 7 41% Total 98 20% 46 35% 79 45% Note: On the day shown, night begins at 2200 and finishes the following day at Percentages are the percentage of all fatal crashes in that time period that involve a young driver. 10

11 Young drivers tend to be disproportionately represented in fatal crashes at night. For example, between 2013 and 2015, 45 percent of night-time crashes and over 50 percent of fatal crashes occurring on Friday nights involved a young driver, whereas only 20 percent of daytime fatal crashes involved a young driver. Who was at fault? Figure 6: Young driver fault in crashes ( ) Single vehicle, no young driver fault identified, 1% Single vehicle, young driver at fault, 35% Multi vehicle, young driver some responsibility, 4% Multi vehicle, no young driver fault identified, 19% Multi vehicle, young driver primary responsibility, 41% A young driver has the primary responsibility 5 for about three-quarters (76%) of all the crashes involving young drivers. A young driver has the primary responsibility for about two-thirds (65%) of the crashes that also involve other road users. Crash factors Alcohol/drugs, losing control and speed are the major contributing factors for young drivers involved in fatal crashes. Over half (53%) the young drivers involved in fatal crashes had alcohol/drugs and/or speed identified as factors contributing to the crash. Young drivers are over twice as likely to have speed or alcohol as a factor than drivers over the age of Primary responsibility (fault) for a crash is based on the crash movements and crash cause factors assigned in the Crash Analysis System. It is not based on legal liability or court conviction. Fault/responsibility here only considers driver and rider factors contributing to the crash. There may also be road or system factors that contributed to the crash. 11

12 Figure 7: Young driver alcohol/drugs and speed involvement in fatal crashes ( ) Alcohol/drugs, 15% Neither, 47% Alcohol/drugs and Speed, 23% Speed, 15% Figure 8: Driver contribution to fatal crashes by age group ( ) year olds 25 + years old Lost control Alcohol Too fast for conditions Inexperience Driver tired or f ell asleep Inattention or attention diverted Failed to keep left Failed to give way Too far left Racing/showing of f Did not see other party Overtaking Suddenly braked or turned Illness/Disability Forbidden movement 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Percentage of drivers 12

13 Types of crash Crashes which involve drivers losing control of their vehicles (see lost control/off road on the graph below) are a major feature in crashes involving young drivers. Forty percent of year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes were in single-vehicle loss of control or run off road crashes, compared with 20 percent for older drivers. In addition, many of the head-on crashes also involve drivers losing control of their vehicles. Figure 9: Percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes by crash movement ( ) Overtaking or lane change Head on Lost control / off road Collision with obstruction or rear end Intersection or turning Pedestrian years 25 years and over Other 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Percentage of drivers 13

14 Licence status of young drivers in fatal crashes The following graphs show the licence status of year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes. Restricted and learner licence holders make up a large proportion of these drivers; 53 percent for year olds and 33 percent for year olds. A similar pattern occurs for year-old drivers involved in injury crashes. This reflects the high number of learner and restricted licence holders in this age group. Figure 10: Licence status of year old drivers involved in fatal crashes ( ) Learner Restricted Full Overseas Disqualif ied/forbidden Never licensed Unknown/other 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Note: Unknown/other includes drivers with an expired, unknown or incorrect licence class. Figure 11: Licence status of year old drivers involved in fatal crashes ( ) Learner Restricted Full Overseas Disqualif ied/forbidden Never licensed Unknown/other 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Note: Unknown/other includes drivers with an expired, unknown or incorrect licence class. 14

15 Terminology Fatal injuries: injuries that result in death within 30 days of the crash. Serious injuries: fractures, concussions, internal injuries, crushings, severe cuts and lacerations, several general shock necessitating medical treatment and any other injury involving removal to and detention in hospital. Minor injuries: injuries of a minor nature such as sprains and bruises. Social cost: a measure of the total cost of road crashes to the nation. It includes: loss of life and life quality; loss of productivity; and medical, legal, court, and property damage costs. Crash fault/responsibility: Primary responsibility (at-fault) for a crash is based on the crash movements and crash cause factors assigned in the Crash Analysis System. It is not based on legal liability or court conviction. Fault/responsibility here only considers driver and rider factors contributing to the crash. There may also be road or system factors that contributed to the crash. 15

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