Young drivers should have restricted use of roads to reduce accidents and bring down insurance premiums. Age reduced to 16 and a half and a year on L-plates.
New drivers should spend at least a year learning to drive before they are allowed to take their test, insurers proposed today. Young drivers should not be able to use their cars at night, have a lower drink-drive limit and should have restrictions on the number of passengers they carry, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said.
The minimum 12-month learning period would enable young drivers to gain more supervised practice, and reduce the number of accidents involving young people. It was also proposed that the age at which young people can start learning to drive should be lowered to 16 and a half, rather than the current 17.
The Association of British Insurers also called for graduated driver licensing. This would include restrictions on the number of young passengers that can be carried by drivers in the first six months after passing their driving test.
It would include, during the first six months, restrictions (with some exemptions) on young drivers driving between 11:00pm at night and 4:00am. This proposal is already in place in countries such as Canada, which has a lower level of accidents involving young people.
During the graduated phase, there would be a lower blood alcohol driving limit. This would, in effect, be a zero limit.
The Association of British Insurers said that in the UK only one in eight driving licence holders was aged 25 or under, yet a third of those killed on the roads was aged under 25 years old.
It added that an 18 year old driver was more than three times as likely to be involved in a crash as a 48 year old driver.
In addition, 27% of motor personal injury insurance claims over £500,000 result from a crash involving a driver aged 17-24 years old.
Association of British Insurers director general Otto Thoresen said today: "Radical action is needed to reduce the tragic waste of young lives on our roads, especially among the 17-24 age group.”
"A car is potentially a lethal weapon, and we must do more to help young drivers better deal with the dangers of driving. Improving the safety of young drivers will also mean that they will face lower motor insurance costs.
"We have all side-stepped this issue for too long. 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."
The proposals have been met with positive reaction.
Nigel Bartram, senior motor underwriter at Aviva, said: "We believe there should be a minimum 12-month learning period as well as a lower provisional licence age of 16 and a half, both of which would allow young drivers to gain more driving experience before taking their test. We would also like to see a ban on so-called ‘crash learning courses’ which leave drivers ill-equipped to cope with the rigours of driving on today’s roads."
Andy Goldby, at Direct Line, said: “Direct Line fully supports any measures that increase the learning of young drivers and gives them more time to gain real experience on the road. However, we believe these need to be balanced, ensuring any new restrictions are both practical and easy to enforce. The implementation of a Graduated Licensing Scheme would make a real difference to the driving behaviour and habits of young people and more importantly, reduce catastrophic accidents and save lives.”
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Report from The Daily Telegraph 4th Oct 2012