Survey highlights support for new driver restrictions

12.00 | 24 May 2016 | | 3 comments

35% of respondents to a new survey believe that newly qualified drivers should have their licence evoked if they break any traffic laws during their first year on the road.

‘Are you ready to drive?’, a survey of 1,000 drivers produced by the road safety charity Brake in association with Direct Line, suggests that 92% of drivers would back some form of year-long restrictions on newly qualified drivers.

66% of respondents believed new drivers they should display "P" plates, while 63% back a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit.

44% would welcome restrictions on carrying young passengers (unless family members or dependants) and 38% support restrictions on driving very late at night.

Government figures show that during 2014, 2,088 young drivers and passengers aged between 17 and 24 years were killed or seriously injured (KSI). Drivers aged between 17 and 19 make up just 1.5% of UK licence holders, but are involved in 9% of fatal crashes.

Last week, the Government announced plans to evolve the driving test in a bid to ensure it reflects the modern driving experience.

In the Brake survey, 85% of respondents agreed that learner drivers should have to clock up a minimum number of supervised driving hours before they are allowed to take their driving test.

79% of those questioned said there should be a minimum on-the-road learning period for new drivers before they take their practical test, with two thirds stating that period should be at least six months.

Alice Bailey, communications and campaigns adviser for Brake, said: “Our first years behind the wheel are among the most dangerous of our lives, with one in five new drivers crashing in their first six months on the road.

“We must do more to help keep young people safe behind the wheel. Countries and states that have introduced restrictions for newly qualified drivers have seen big drops in crash rates.

“We’re pleased to hear the government has announced plans for a full review into the current driving test this year, with a view to making it more like “real life driving” but the introduction of graduated driving licencing would make young and novice drivers much safer and save lives.”


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    Peter, it isn’t that simple either. They may do 4.6% of the miles, but when do they do it? Time profiling shows that crash distribution is not even across the 24 hours of a day or across the 7 days of a week. Could it be that the times that younger people choose to drive coincide with the “danger hours” whilst the times that older people tend to drive are during the “safer hours”? For evidence-based responses we first need to see *all* the relevant evidence. It is so very easy to jump to false conclusions when we are only shown a subset of the evidence.

    Charles, England
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    Hi Charles,

    Yes you are quite right, however, information from the Department for Transport’s 2014 National Travel Survey estimates that 17-20 year olds account for around 4.6% of total miles travelled in England as a car or van driver (Table NTS0605). Figures are not available for 17-19 year olds specifically in this publication, but this percentage will be even lower, showing that this age group does have an increased risk of exposure compared to other age groups.

    Peter Slater, North East Regional Road Safety Resource
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    We are told that drivers aged between 17 and 19 are involved in 9% of fatal crashes (and that they make up 1.5% of UK licence holders) but we are not told what their exposure rate is. If they account less than 9% of miles travelled or less than 9% of time on the road, then they might be overrepresented in the casualty data. But without knowing their exposure, we cannot possibly give an informed opinion.

    Charles, England
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