Why YDI Initiatives are important

YDI initiatives are important because young, novice drivers are particularly vulnerable in the period immediately after they pass their driving test.

The graph below from Hopkin, 2008, shows that learner drivers are at very low risk of a crash – clipping wing mirrors, bumping gate posts while practising reversing, and occasional low speed shunts, yes, but not collisions or crashes of consequence.

Crash risk is substantially elevated once they are licensed for solo driving. This is the case even after a lengthy Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) qualification process.

The combination of:

  • Youth (immaturity of judgement)
  • Inexperience at ‘reading the road’
  • Inexperience at vehicle handling (especially complex manoeuvres)
  • Overconfidence in their abilities.

can be fatal.

Drivers aged 16-19 can be over twenty times more likely to have contributed to a fatal accident than merely to have been involved. This effect reduces with increasing age (Clarke et al, 2007). Young drivers are particularly prone to ‘loss of control’ accidents, often on bends.

In general, a driver’s crash risk can be predicted from:

  • Age and experience
  • Exposure (annual mileage)
  • Their tendency to breach the rules of the road (citations, driving violations, ‘un-drivers’ – unlicensed, uninsured, untaxed)
  • The presence of factors which compromise their competence (fatigue, drink and drugs, distraction, e.g. from passengers).

From Hopkin, J. (2008) Young drivers – where and when are they unsafe: analysis of road accidents in Great Britain 2000 – 2006. London: IAM Motoring Trust.

risk versus experience graph

YDI's are important because they seek to intervene in the darker blue zone on this graph.


Clarke, DD Ward, P, Truman W and Bartle C 2007. Fatal vehicle occupant collisions: an in depth study. London: Road Safety Research Report 75, Department for Transport.