20% of young drivers 'race on road'
One in five young Irish drivers admits racing other motorists on the roads, a survey claims.
The research also found that drivers aged between 17 and 24 are five times more likely to be killed on the roads than other motorists.
The findings by Dr Kiran Sarma, a chartered psychologist and lecturer in psychology at NUI Galway, were revealed at the Road Safety Authority (RSA) annual lecture.
Dr Sarma said his study showed risky and reckless driving was linked with pro-speeding attitudes among friends and family.
A greater tendency to become angry at other drivers and a belief that the driver can control his or her car, even in bad conditions, were also factors, he said.
"The research would suggest that addressing speeding attitudes is important but that deeper psychological factors are also linked to dangerous driving on our roads," Dr Sarma said.
His report also found that 5,678 road users aged between 17 and 24 were killed or seriously injured on Ireland's roads between 1997 and 2009 - roughly the same as the population of Westport in Co Mayo.
The age group represented 28% of all road deaths during that period and more than a third (35%) of those deaths took place between midnight and 5am, the study revealed.
Dr Sarma said the results of his survey of 1,500 drivers show young male drivers also reported more speeding, reckless driving and use of mobile phones while driving than other motorists.
The RSA research kicked off the beginning of Irish Road Safety Week, which runs until Sunday.