A safer start for young drivers – ABI calls for an overhaul in how young people learn to drive
Radical measures, such as a minimum one year learning period, restrictions on night time driving and lowering the alcohol limit for driving, are now needed to reduce the high crash risk young drivers face and to lower their motor insurance costs according to a report published today (4 October) by ABI.
In the UK only one in eight driver licence holders are aged 25 or under, yet one in three who die on our roads is aged under 25. An 18 year-old driver is more than three times as likely to be involved in a crash than a 48 year-old driver.
‘Improving the Safety of Young Drivers’ provides further evidence of why urgent action is needed to help young drivers. ABI research shows that over a quarter (27%) of motor personal injury insurance claims over £500,000 resulted from a crash involving a driver aged between 17-24. Young drivers are far more likely to be involved in crashes involving 3-5 high value bodily injury claims, reflecting the increased risk they face of having a serious crash while carrying passengers.
The report looks at how other countries tackle the issue, including the use of graduated licensing in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Northern Ireland is planning to introduce a similar system.
The ABI is calling for the following measures to improve the safety of young drivers:
· A minimum 12-month learning period before taking the driving test to enable young learner drivers to gain more supervised practice.
· A ban on taking an intensive driving course as the sole means of learning drive.
· The lowering of the age at which young people can start learning to drive to age 16 and a half.
· Graduated driver licensing. This would include restrictions on the number of young drivers that can be carried by a young driver in the first six months after passing their driving test, reflecting the fact that the crash risk increases significantly with young passengers in the car.
It would also include, during the first six months, restrictions on young drivers driving between 11pm at night and 4am. There would be an exemption, allowing young drivers to drive to their workplace or in connection with education.
During the graduated phase there would be a lower blood alcohol driving limit. This would, in effect, be a zero limit as it would only allow for the consumption of alcohol linked to products such as mouthwash.
At the moment this is just a proposal . I believe there are many unanswered questions.
- How would these conditions be enforced, with our already overstretched Police force
- Would the Insurance companies reduce young drivers insurance premiums
- By extending the learning period to 12 months. How many hours of lessons must a learner driver have ?