Proposal for 12 months of testing for young drivers
1 March 2007

How long did it take you to pass your driving test? If you're anything like us, you'll have been tearing up your L-plates within months of your 17th birthday.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI), however, would like that to change. In a statement to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee yesterday (28 February), the ABI called for a one-year minimum learning period for new drivers, and a limit on the number of passengers young drivers can carry.

The ABI reckons that its proposals would cut young-driver casualties by up to 1000 a year. Young drivers make up an eighth of all license holders, but are involved in a third of all road accidents. Road accidents are now the biggest killer of 15 to 24 year olds in the UK.

Under the ABI's proposals, young drivers would gain experience driving under a variety of conditions including at night and in poor weather. A similar scheme in Sweden has led to a 40 per cent fall in young driver casualties.

The second part of the ABI's suggestion is that newly qualified drivers under 20 years of age should be limited to carrying no more than one passenger under age 20 during their first six months of driving. This is because their research shows that the crash risk for young drivers increases threefold when carrying three or more passengers.

We're all for making the roads safer, but we're not sure this is the right way to go about it.

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