Call to improve the safety of young drivers

Urgent action is needed to improve the safety of young drivers, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The industry group says that radical measures are necessary – including a minimum one year learning period.

The ABI has published a report - ‘Improving the Safety of Young Drivers’ – which reveals over a quarter (27%) of motor personal injury insurance claims over £500,000 resulted from a car accident involving a driver aged between 17-24. Young drivers are also 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.

It suggests that radical measures are now necessary, including:

• 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 to drive.
• The lowering of the age at which young people can start learning to drive to age 16 and a half.
• Graduated driver licensing - including 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.
• 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. 

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