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Young men over-represented in road fatalities in Finland

Overall traffic fatalities are trending downwards, but young men were three times more likely to die on Finnish roads than the rest of the population.

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Young drivers and alcohol are an especially deadly combination. Image: Esko Jämsä / AOP
Yle News

The Finnish Road Safety Council found in a study that young men aged 15-24 were three times more likely to die in traffic accidents than others last year.

"Young people are unfortunately disproportionately represented in car crash figures," said the council's education manager, Satu Tuomikoski.

She said that road accidents involving young men usually include the same handful of elements.

"These crashes usually involve speeding, neglect of safety belts, inebriation from alcohol and existing traffic violations despite the perpetrators being fairly new to driving," Tuomikoski said.

She added that only a small portion of young people behave dangerously in traffic, and most young adults are stringently against driving under the influence.

Over the long term, overall traffic-related deaths have gone down in Finland. In 2018 there were 42 road deaths reported for victims aged 15-24, while in 2009 there were 74 such deaths. Four out of five victims were male.

Tuomikoski said that education is the best way to ensure safety on the roads, starting with early childhood education and running through to basic schooling and the national driving test itself.

"It's also down to attitudes. Knowing traffic law is paramount, but so is controlling one's personal behaviour while driving. Young people's brains are still developing, which makes driving all the riskier for them."

Fatal crash over weekend

Three people were killed and three others injured in a car crash near Kitee in Eastern Finland early Sunday. A passenger car veered into oncoming traffic and collided with a minivan around 2am, killing the driver of the car, according to police.

Police suspect that the driver of the car, a 21-year-old Joensuu man, was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and was driving well above the 80 km/h speed limit.

The other victims were passengers in the minivan, a man aged 42 years and a woman aged 32. A 42-year-old man from Joensuu and two 18-year-old local women were also injured.

Police are investigating the accident as aggravated reckless endangerment, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated drink-driving.

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