Newly qualified drivers could face restrictions in bid to cut number of road accidents

The Prime Minister has called for the Department for Transport to look into introducing graduated driving licences (GDL) for young drivers, to combat high accident rates among 17-24 year-olds. 

During Prime Minister’s Questions, MP for Darlington Jenny Chapman asked the Prime Minister what could be done to lower the proportion of young drivers involved in an accident within the first two years of getting behind the wheel. 

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I will certainly look at the request she [Chapman] has made, and I will ask the Department for Transport to look at this as an issue. As she says, there are too many people who suffer loss and tragedy at the hands of learner drivers in these circumstances.”

Currently, one in four young drivers are involved in an accident within two years of passing their tests, with 400 deaths or serious injuries annually involving young drivers.

A graduated driving licence designed for young drivers is already in place in various countries, with restrictions on the number of passengers carried, driving at night and being accompanied by a more experienced driver among the conditions in certain countries. 

Drivers’ group IAM Roadsmart has previously released a series of suggestions for making young drivers safer, including incorporating theory and hazard perception into the national curriculum, including high-speed roads on driving test routes, a lower drink/drive alcohol threshold and a 12-month minimum learning period. 

IAM’s policy and research director, Neil Greig said: “Too many young drivers pass the practical test unprepared for the road, so any GDL scheme must focus on building experience in all traffic conditions.

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“GDL shouldn’t stop at the practical test and IAM RoadSmart supports post-test check-ups to embed learning and help new drivers negotiate our stressful roads.”

Autocar is awaiting response from the Department for Transport on when and how this legislation would be introduced. A Department for Transport spokesman said it would respond 'in due course'.


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Join the debate


9 February 2018

 It’s crazy that a 17-year-old should be penalised purely because of their age.  Most examples of terrible driving I see are from drivers old enough (and supposedly experienced enough) to know better.

Of course it’s mad that a learner can pass their driving test, then go out and buy a Ferrari the same day, but a graduated license should be about limiting the capability of the vehicle owned, until such time as the driver has gained more experience. Licenses should be linked to type approval, in a similar way to aircraft pilot licences. Pass an additional test to drive a more powerful or more capable car or vehicle.

 And mandatorily retest all drivers every three years. This keeps drivers focused on good behaviour and prevents bad habits setting in. 

9 February 2018

I ve seen bad driving from all age groups, but its the both the youngest and the oldest who have the worst accident rates. 17 year olds wouldnt be discrimanated against because of their age, it would be because of their lack of experience.

XXXX just went POP.

9 February 2018

...the learners on the road what about the runs running the Autocar website. Keep doing Slideshows that no-one can read!!!! SORT IT OUT

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

9 February 2018
xxxx wrote:

...the learners on the road what about the runs running the Autocar website. Keep doing Slideshows that no-one can read!!!! SORT IT OUT

What are you on about now?

9 February 2018

I have said this for ages!, as already mentioned, the newly passed and the older Drivers ( not going to be ageist here) makes the most mistakes shall  we say, there are stats to prove this, doing a Pilot type scheme would be an additional cost and learning to drive is expensive and isn’t open to all simply because of that, other Countries do it, I think Australia have a system like this,and, anyway, wouldn’t this make better drivers....?

Peter Cavellini.

9 February 2018
Shame no mention of the system already in place with motorbikes where you have to start low and work your way up. It's proven to have lowered the accident rate for riders.




10 February 2018
Deputy wrote:

Shame no mention of the system already in place with motorbikes where you have to start low and work your way up. It's proven to have lowered the accident rate for riders.

Its a very valid comparison, and I think it makes perfect sense to have certain limitations on inexperienced drivers until they have spent more time on the road. For me, limiting the power output of vehicles you can drive, and the number of passengers you can carry for say the first year of your licence would be a good move. My work invoIves collision investigation and I've lost count of the number of cars full of teenagers losing control and going off the road, principally because the driver doesn't appreciate how much all that extra weight alters how a car handles at speed. Having a years driving with only one passenger max, and in a more modest powered vehicle would be very beneficial to learning how to drive properly in the real world. I don't agree with time curfews, as I think people do need to get experience of as many different road conditions as possible, and I think motorway driving should be something thats brought in with a graduated licence, not done as part of passing your initial test.  But didn't the government have this same debate a few years ago and decide to do nothing about it?

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