Proposed overhaul of young driver tests
ABI -propose overhaul of young driver tests including ban on night time driving, restriction on passengers and zero alcohol level
New drivers should learn to drive for at least one year, according to insurers.
The idea is part of a proposed overhaul of the way young drivers pass their tests, which is being demanded by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
At the moment, anyone in the UK can learn to drive and pass their test once they are 17 years of age.
It said the need for more rigorous driver training had been side-stepped “for too long”.
The ABI said that 17-24-year-olds are responsible for a disproportionately large number of crashes, deaths and claims.
Radical action is needed to reduce the tragic waste of young lives on our roads, especially among the 17-24 age group,” said the ABI’s director general, Otto Thoresen.
It called for an elimination of crash course sessions as the sole method of passing and introducing a zero blood-alcohol limit during the first six months, among other measures.
The ABI said all the evidence shows that newly passed young drivers are the riskiest on the road and that extra special care is need to avoid them having accidents.
It says 18-year olds are more than three times as likely as a 48-year old to be involved in a crash, and one in three drivers who die in car accidents is under 25.
“Northern Ireland is introducing reforms, and politicians in Westminster should follow their lead in introducing meaningful reform to help today’s young drivers become tomorrow’s safer motorists.”
Among the reforms the insurers are calling for are:
– A ban on learners being able to take an intensive driving course as their only method of passing;
– The introduction of a new “graduated” licence for the first six months after passing a test;
During this time the number of young passengers that a newly-qualified driver could carry would be restricted;
– They would also be banned from driving between 11:00pm and 4:00am for the first six months, unless they were driving too and from work or college;
– There would be no blood alcohol allowed during those first six months;
But young drivers would be able to start learning earlier, at the age of 16 and a half
That is despite the fact that the under 25’s form only one in eight of all car drivers.
More than a quarter of all personal injury motor claims for more than £500,000 are due to crashes involving 17-24 year olds.
“Young drivers are far more likely to be involved in crashes involving three to five high value bodily injury claims, reflecting the increased risk they face of having a serious crash while carrying passengers,” the ABI said.
The report’s publication follows a fringe event at the Labour Party conference, at which former justice secretary Jack Straw backed the ABI reforms.
“This is a really important campaign. As a senior minister, I came across a certain amount of institutional resistance in the Department of Transport,” he said.
“By having the support of a Secretary of State, only then can we do something to create a shift in this resistance, and begin to address the issue of how to make driving for young people safer and more affordable.
“This issue needs to be taken to the people on the ground, the nurses in local hospitals who deal with the impact of these accidents every day, each minister in his or her constituency, and the local press to bring the issue to the forefront of people’s minds.”
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