With new registration plates out earlier this month, parents and young drivers in Sussex are being urged to invest in the newest model car they can afford by the Brighton and Central Sussex Group of Advanced Motorists (BACS).

Research from BACS national partner charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), has shown that nearly half of men under 20 who were killed or seriously injured in crashes were driving cars over 10 years old.

Younger drivers are at more risk of serious injury because older cars offer less crash protection and have fewer safety features. Research from insurers Young Marmalade* also suggests that young drivers are more likely to take better care of a more valuable vehicle – or one on a payment scheme – leading to lower accident rates.

Chris Belton, Chairman of BACS said: “Parents should help their child choose the best car they can get for their money. A new car won’t be an option for everybody but there are plenty of used cars that will be almost as good – you do need to do some thorough research though.

“It makes sense that any driver will take better care of a new car, and especially one which they’re still paying for. Young drivers are the highest risk group on our roads and the insurance industry claims that 20 per cent of young drivers crash in their first year. We also encourage younger drivers to take a course such as Momentum after passing their driving test to ensure they continue to develop their knowledge and skills when out on the road.”

BACS has some top tips to make choosing a first car easier**:

  • NCAP rating (car safety rating) – look for four stars in the adult rating category; don’t settle for less than three, even on older models
  • Insurance group – group three or under gives a wide choice of small cars, and makes insurance affordable while the no-claims discount builds up
  • Length of manufacture warranty – three years used to be the norm, but five or even seven years is becoming common, so there are plenty of used cars still under the manufacturer’s warranty.  Check the small print for exactly what’s covered though – there may be mileage limits
  • Depreciation – cars with high initial depreciation mean you might pick up a three-year-old bargain, but don’t forget that if the price drop continues it may be worth very little when you come to sell it
  • Mileage – many small cars do a low annual mileage, so don’t pay too much for a three-year-old car that’s only driven 15,000 miles – there will be lots like that

The Momentum Course from IAM costs £40 and, should younger drivers wish to continue to develop their driving skills by taking the Skill for Life programme, the cost of Momentum will be deducted from the cost of the Skill for Life course.*** Skill for Life will build on from the Momentum assessment, and will help drivers to safely predict hazards, anticipate other drivers’ behaviour and more accurately assess road and traffic conditions, enabling them to become more controlled, confident and ultimately, better drivers.


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