A road safety awareness month focused on young drivers is taking place across New Zealand in a bid to drive down road deaths.

So far this year 248 people have died on the country’s roads, 11 per cent more than at the same time last year and nearly a quarter of those killed were aged between 15-24 years old.

SAFER (Student Advocates for Everyone’s Road Safety) September is a campaign supported by the AA and student-led charity, Students Against Dangerous Driving (SADD/Kaitiaki o Ara) and urges Kiwis to check in with young drivers and be vigilant about road safety.

“We need to support young people to make safer choices on the road by talking about the risks, speaking up when we see dangerous behaviour and modelling positive actions ourselves,” said SADD General Manager and former Police officer Donna Govorko.

“Driver behaviour is nearly always the leading cause of these fatalities, and while every young life lost is a tragedy, it’s made even more tragic by the fact these accidents are usually avoidable.

“Our goal, and the aim of SAFER September, is to create the cultural shift we need in order to change behaviour and we encourage Kiwis of all ages to support this.”

According to AA Driving School, inexperience coupled with over-confidence is what puts young people at greater risk on the road.

Drink driving, speeding, being distracted and not driving to the conditions are common risk factors amongst young drivers.

To mitigate this the AA recommends helping young drivers to build their experience safely and making sure they are aware of risks and consequences so they are better prepared to handle situations they will face on the road.