Restrictions should be put on young drivers’ licences to reduce the number of fatal accidents, a motoring charity has said.
Young people aged between 15 and 24 are four times more likely to die in a road accident than from drug, alcohol, gun and knife crime combined, according to the RAC Foundation.
One in five drivers aged 17 to 24 will be involved in a road traffic accident within six months of passing their test and statistics show that 1,552 young drivers were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads in 2011.
The RAC Foundation is calling for a graduated licensing system, including a one-year minimum learning period and restrictions on night-time driving and the number of passengers.
This would allow young drivers to gain invaluable experience in safer circumstances and potentially cut the number of road accident deaths by more than half, it said.
Overseas accidents cut
Research of graduated licensing schemes introduced in other countries shows fatal collisions for young drivers fell by up to 60% and overall casualties were cut by up to 32%, depending on the range of measures implemented.
Young drivers make up a quarter of all motorists killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads annually, yet they account for 8% of licence holders. They also drive less than older licence holders.
The evidence shows that risk reduces quickly as experience is gained. Studies have found that the first 1,000 miles of driving may be the most important in terms of reducing collision risk.
The RAC Foundation is also backing a reduction in the drink-drive limit for all drivers to a maximum blood alcohol content of 50mg/100ml, down from the existing 80mg/100ml.
“This would be of greatest safety benefit to younger drivers, with knock-on benefits for the rest of the driving population,” it said.