Street racing on the rise

Drag racing is becoming increasingly popular among young adults, according to a new study by the Allianz Centre for Technology in Germany.

Of the 17 to 24 year old drivers surveyed, 38 per cent reported having participated in a drag race and 41 per cent described their driving style as being sporty or offensive; 51 per cent reported being careful or defensive drivers. One in every five young adults, or 18 per cent, drives a modified car. An additional three per cent admitted to having modified engine performance.

Despite the study’s results, long-term statistics point to an increasingly positive trend in regards to younger drivers. The number of fatal automobile accidents involving 18 to 24 year olds actually decreased by nearly two thirds per 100,000 inhabitants (66 per cent) between 2003 and 2013.

In comparison, traffic fatalities involving 25 to 64 year old drivers decreased by only 50 per cent. In addition, the percentage of personal injury accidents among young adult drivers declined from 28 to 22 per cent.

These statistics, however, only reflect accidents involving personal injury. According to the German Federal Statistics Office, 18 to 24 year olds are responsible for the most number of accidents overall.

To put it into perspective, only 7.7 per cent of all drivers in Germany are between the ages of 18 and 24 (34,351 drivers). However, 36 per cent 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,’ said accident researcher Dr. Jörg Kubitzki from the AZT.