Young drivers could face a ban on carrying anyone other than family members as passengers under proposals being considered by the Government to cut the number of road collisions involving teenagers (Telegraph).
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, said he was ready to look at measures which could reduce the number of collisions involving novice motorists and cut the cost of providing them insurance cover.
Patrick McLoughlin said: “I read regular reports where three or four young people have been killed in a car and it’s a new driver and you wonder what happened. When I talk to young people who have recently passed their test what they say sometimes there is peer pressure is put on them to go fast, to show off.
“They are not anticipating an accident, but something goes wrong. They are not drivers with a huge amount of experience by the very fact of their being new drivers. I think we have got to look at that.
“There is a suggestion as to whether you should look at a restriction whether anyone could carry passengers for six or nine months when they have first passed their test. There are suggestions about them only perhaps being allowed to take a family member. To drive a car when you are learning, you have to have a qualified driver in the car. So these are all sorts of areas that I think we can we can look at.
“It is not an area I have closed my mind to, far from it.”
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) believes restricting the number of passengers is a move that the Government should take, and a YouGov survey to be released next week will show significant public support for curbs on young drivers, according to the Telegraph.
The Government has faced calls from the ABI and road safety groups to introduce graduated driver licensing (GDL), which would impose additional restrictions on drivers who have just passed their test. Up until now the Government has resisted moves to introduce GDL in England and Wales.
Professor Stephen Glaister, RAC Foundation director, said: “We need to stop young people killing themselves – and others – on the roads. Casualties have been in decline but this age group is still shockingly over-represented in the stats.
“If a modest curb on driving privileges can lead to a meaningful drop in death and injuries – and evidence from abroad suggests it can – then we would support some form of graduated licensing.”
Edmund King, the AA’s president, voiced doubts on imposing a ban on carrying passengers. He said: “It is something we think is extremely impractical. We think it is sometimes useful to have a designated driver, who takes three mates home rather than having them travel in separate cars.
“I can’t see how this will be enforced. How can you tell whether somebody in the car is a family member or not? What family members are included? Do they mean someone older? What is their role? These things sound reasonable but in practical terms they are very tricky.”
Robert Gifford, executive director of PACTS, said: “Young drivers remain a key area where we need to make progress. They are the economic future of our country.
“As well as looking at post-test restrictions, we also need to improve driver training and instruction and the quality of learning. In that way, we can build quality driver learning.”
Click here to read the full Telegraph report.