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Poor road design and hasty young men shoulder blame for accidents

SPEEDING MALE drivers are the cause of most road accidents and should be tamed by better road design, according to the results of new research into the psychology of driving accidents.

The research, due to be published by motoring organisation the AA at the ICE headquarters in Great George Street this afternoon, examines the differences between male and female drivers and their involvement in accidents.

It concludes that women are safer drivers than men and that speed and inexperience continue to be the biggest causes of road accidents. Forcing young male drivers to slow down, it says, is the simplest way to cut accidents.

'Modifying speed is a major road safety challenge, partly because the public does not regard this as high priority,' said Professor Frank McKenna who led the study. 'Success requires the combined effects of changing attitudes, increased enforcement and engineering modifications.'

The study claims that male drivers aged 17 to 20 are twice as likely as women of the same age to be involved in accidents on bends or during overtaking. Women, however, are more likely to have accidents at junctions.

'The high opinion that men have of their driving skills is not well justified,' said McKenna.

'Men look for thrills behind the wheel and although anecdotal evidence may suggest otherwise, women are not starting to drive as aggressively as men.'

AA head of road safety Andrew Howard underlined McKenna's conclusions. 'There is a large chunk of drivers who derive a thrill from driving fast. To get them to slow down, road designers must go back to absolute basics. That means signing, lining and barriers.'

Richard Thompson

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