The government could make youngsters wait another 12 months before they can take their driving test under proposals being explored. It is considering introducing a number of more stringent rules in a bid to reduce the number of road accidents involving inexperienced drivers. One plan on the table is to give provisional licences to people aged 18 and over.
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Restrictions for young drivers
The Transport Research Laboratory’s report, which was commissioned by the government, recommends bringing in a “learner stage” in which would-be motorists would need to accumulate a minimum of 100 hours of daytime and 20 hours of night-time supervised driving.
Drivers would not be allowed on the road between 10 pm and 5 am within a year of passing their test unless accompanied by someone over the age of 30. Under-30s would also not be able to carry anyone in the same age bracket as passengers.
Over one in five deaths on UK roads in 2011 involved motorists between the ages of 17 and 24, while roughly a tenth of inexperienced drivers are caught breaking the law inside their probationary period.
Improving safety ‘high on agenda’
A Department for Transport spokesman revealed youngsters drive approximately 5% of the UK’s total miles but play a part in around a fifth of fatal or near-fatal crashes. “We are committed to improving safety for young drivers and reducing their insurance costs. That is why we are publishing a Green Paper later in the year setting out our proposals. This will include a discussion about how people learn to drive,” he said.
“The research report has been produced by the Transport Research Laboratory under commission by the Department for Transport and it, amongst other things, has informed the Green Paper.”
Youngsters need help
RAC Foundation director Stephen Glaister said there is a 400% greater chance of youngsters dying in a road accident than because of drink or drugs, but society still turns “a blind eye to the carnage.” He added there “would be an outcry” if it was any other area of public health. “Circumstances conspire against young drivers. Their youth and lack of experience create a deadly mix which means one in five will have an accident within the first six months of passing their test,” said Mr Glaister.
“We should all have an interest in preserving young drivers’ lives rather than exposing them to undue risk at the stage of their driving careers where they are most vulnerable. This is about ensuring their long-term safety and mobility, not curtailing it.”
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Date Published: October 12, 2013
Author: David Brown