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This measure has been suggested as a way to cut the number of accidents on the roads involving teenagers. Other options currently being considered include banning new drivers from carrying passengers altogether. It is also hoped that bringing in some new laws might help to cut the current high cost of car insurance for new drivers.
The proposals which were submitted to the Department for Transport by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), reveal that one in eight drivers is under 25, yet they account for one third of the fatalities on Britain’s roads. The ABI also estimated that an 18 year old motorist is three times more likely to be involved in a crash than a driver who is 30 years older.
Transport Secretary Mr McLoughlin said: “I read regular reports where three or four young people have been killed in a car and it’s a new driver and you wonder what happened.
“When I talk to young people who have recently passed their test what they say sometimes there is peer pressure is put on them to go fast, to show off.
“They are not anticipating an accident, but something goes wrong. They are not drivers with a huge amount of experience by the very fact of their being new drivers. I think we have got to look at that.
The proposals were welcomed by road safety charity Brake who said: “We have campaigned for many years for the Government to overhaul the system for training and testing drivers.
“Placing restrictions on newly qualified drivers would significantly improve safety and help to reduce the appalling number of serious casualties that involve inexperienced novices.
“We know from research that young drivers are far more likely to crash when they have passengers of their age in the car. Placing this restriction makes sense.”
Edmund King, the AA’s president, however, voiced doubts on imposing a ban on carrying passengers, believing that the measure was ‘extremely impractical’. He went on to explain how it would be difficult to tell whether somebody in the car was a family member or not, and that he felt it was useful to have a ‘designated driver’ to ferry a group home rather than travelling in separate cars.
Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety believes more work needs to be done before young drivers take their test and that as well as looking at post-test restrictions, the government should be looking at improving driver training and instruction and the quality of learning.