The Government should introduce a minimum learning period of one year, restrictions on night time driving and a lower blood alcohol limit, according to a report by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
The ABI says the report, ‘Improving the Safety of Young Drivers’, provides evidence showing why urgent action is needed to reduce the high crash risk for young drivers, and to lower their motor insurance costs.
ABI research reveals that 27% of motor personal injury insurance claims of more than £500,000 resulted from a crash involving a driver aged 17-24 years. Young drivers are also far more likely to be involved in crashes resulting in multiple 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 US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. A similar system will also be introduced in Northern Ireland.
To combat the problem, ABI is calling for a number of measures including: a minimum 12-month learning period before taking the driving test; a ban on taking an intensive driving course as the sole means of learning to drive; lowering the age at which young people can start learning to drive to 16 and a half; and graduated driver licensing.
During the first six months after passing the driving test, the ABI also advocates restrictions on driving between 11pm and 4am – with exemptions for journeys to work and in connection with education. During the graduated phase, the ABI also proposes a lower blood alcohol limit; in effect, a ‘zero’ limit with the exception of consumption of alcohol through products such as mouthwash.
Otto Thoresen, ABI’s director general, said: “Radical action is needed to reduce the tragic waste of young lives on our roads. 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.”
Click here to read the report.