Peer pressure can be a dangerous influence on young drivers, with a third admitting they drive more dangerously when

their friends are in the car, according to a survey. Research has revealed that more than 20% of 17-21 year old drivers paid less attention to the road when they were driving with peers. A quarter said they took their hands off the wheel and 15% said they performed illegal manoeuvres. These statistics highlight some of the reasons why car insurance is so important for young drivers. More young males than young females admitted adopting bad habits in front of their friends, with 11% of males saying they did not wear a seatbelt, compared with 6% of females. However, having parents or grandparents in the car proved to be a positive influence, with 97% of young drivers saying they followed the rules of the road more strictly and 44% saying they drove slower. 13 Oct 2009

Young drivers are potentially risking driving penalties and high car insurance premiums by thinking it is acceptable to drive under the influence of drugs such as cannabis. According to a Transport for London (TfL) poll, almost one in ten drivers aged 17-25 in London think that drug-driving is acceptable. The survey was carried out as part of a TfL campaign aimed at young drivers who speed, drive without car insurance or drive under the influence of drugs. Figures show that in 2007, 555 collisions in London that resulted in a death or serious injury involved drivers aged 17-25. Chris Lines, head of TfL's road safety unit, said: "It seems that some young drivers wrongly believe that using drugs will have no effect on their ability to drive. This couldn't be further from the truth. "Drivers throughout the capital should be aware that the police are now trained to test for drug impairment and that the penalties are just as serious as those for drink-driving." The results follow research in 2007 which showed 63% of those that admitted to driving after taking drugs also said they had carried passengers at the time, and 10% even believed taking drugs improved their driving. 11 Feb 2009