Co-op Insurance has just launched its ‘Safe Used First Car’ award,  to help young drivers make better buying decisions, and show the importance of prioritising safety features over appearance. It follows on from the launch of the Safe Used Car award last year, focusing on young people after data showed that 41% of them have had accidents – a third within the first six months of passing their tests.

The award and research was launched by an expert panel – including representatives from Brake, the road safety charity; car expert Quentin Willson; security experts Thatcham; and Co-op’s James Hillon. It was hosted by Lois McClure Chair of our Young Members’ Board.

The safest car came out as the Skoda Citigo, and you can see how it copes when we tested its AEB (autonomous emergency braking) and ESC (electronic stability control) on our You Tube channel.

The top five safe cars for young drivers:

1 Skoda Citigo
2 Volkswagen UP!
3 Seat Mii
4 Toyota Yaris
5 Kia Rio

The results are based on a formula devised by the Co-op and safety experts Thatcham. To be included, cars needed to be in the ‘Supermini’ category, cost less than £5,000, have a five-star Euro NCAP rating, a low insurance category and CO2 emissions of 120g/km or less.

Our research also revealed that just 31% of young drivers say they consider safety when choosing a car, and 75% of young drivers don’t know about vital safety devices like ESC (Electronic Stability Control) and AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking). In case you don’t know either, you can read about these, and the industry safety rating for cars (1-5) on the Euro NCAP website.

We’re doing even more to help young people stay safe
We’ve always been ahead of the game when it comes to thinking about the needs of young people. In 2011 we launched telematics for young drivers– an in-car box that monitors driving to help young people bring down the cost of their insurance. We worked closely with our Young Members’ Board to develop this product and we now have a young driver app – they gave us some brilliant insights and did test drives for us too.

We’re planning to do lots more to highlight the importance of road safety for young people too:

  • A Twitter marketing campaign showing crash tests, to encourage young people to think about safety when making a purchase
  • Talking about safety features like AEB and ESC to the media, members and our colleagues
  • Hosting a road safety live stream later this year, to engage 17-24 year-olds with the importance of safety
  • Visiting our academies, to educate students about road safety
  • Investing in our partnership with Brake, the road safety charity