Jumat, 10 Desember 2010

Are modified cars raising accident risks

Are modified cars raising accident risks

The number of young people who are involved in serious car accidents each year has long been a worrying statistic for governments across the world. According to figures released by the World Health Organisation there are nearly 400,000 people under the age of 25 killed in road traffic accidents worldwide each year.

This terrible toll of young deaths was highlighted this week by a spokesman for a leading motoring organisation, who said that the increase in young people modifying their cars could well lead to the total number of deaths to rise even further.

Too much power to handle?

Across the UK many young people have become increasingly interested in modifying their vehicles in order for them to be not only more eye-catching but also much more powerful. This use of power-boosting techniques has prompted the AA to speak out about what they see as a threat to the users of these modified cars and other road users.

AA Chairman Edmund King noted that many people had begun to fit nitrous oxide systems in to their cars, which in some cases can double the brake horsepower of the vehicle.

Nitrous oxide is used to pump more oxygen and fuel into the car’s engine, which will affect how quickly it burns, causing an upsurge in power.

Mr King said that the increasing use of such systems amongst relatively inexperienced drivers was a recipe for disaster because cars with such extreme power would be harder to control on the road.

"We believe that many hundreds of lives are put at risk by these modified cars. Some 20% of new drivers have a crash in their first year of driving,” said King.

"If you then put them in a modified car that's harder to control, that's faster, that has an extra 200 brake horsepower, then accidents are much more likely to happen," he added.

Insurer says claims are unfounded

The claims made by King to the press were immediately rebuffed by a leading insurer of modified cars who said that the AA chairman was attempting to gain headlines. Gerry Bucke of Adrian Flux Car Insurance noted that despite the increased level of power in the vehicles, those driving modified cars were actually 20% less likely to be involved in an accident.

“Young drivers of modified cars are on average 20% less likely to have an accident and make a claim than young drivers in cars with a standard specification. For a respected body like the AA to indulge in this sort of scaremongering is pathetic. We welcome any initiative that will make young motorists drive more safely, but this sort of comment is just going to make them angry," said Bucke.

Bucke was clear that the reason for this lower level of accidents was the care modified car drivers took in protecting their vehicles from damage, especially after spending many thousands of pounds customising them.

Regardless of whether King is correct though, it is particularly vital for young drivers to make sure that they always drive safely and always make sure that they are adequately insured to deal with any eventuality.

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