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Brake: ‘New drivers should be restricted’

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A new study by Brake, the road safety charity, has revealed 92% of people back some kind of restriction for newly qualified drivers.

The latest figures show 2,088 young drivers and passengers aged between 17 and 24 were killed or seriously injured in just one year.

Brake was keen to find out what the public thinks about the idea of extending the time it takes young people to learn to drive, and of putting some restrictions in place when people first pass their test.

The idea of a graduated driving licencing system, which is now in place in a number of countries around the world, is to make sure young people are as skilled and as safe as possible when they go out on the roads unsupervised.

When asked what restrictions should be in place for the first year after someone is given a driving licence, two thirds (66%) of people questioned said they support the use of a “P” plate to show a driver in on probation. A similar number back a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit for novice drivers.

Half of those questioned said they think there should be a restriction on car engine sizes for new drivers, and more than a third of people think that a newly qualified driver should lose their licence if they break any traffic laws during their first year on the road.

Almost eight in 10 people (79%) said they think there should be a minimum time frame for learning to drive, and almost two thirds (62%) think that should be at least six months.

Three quarters of people (75%) said they think there should be a requirement for a minimum number of taught hours before learner drivers are allowed to take their practical test. Half of those questioned (50%) said they think people should have at least 35 hours of driving lessons before taking their on-the-road test.

Research for the Department for Transport describes the large number of young drivers involved in crashes as a public health risk, with analysis of DfT figures  suggesting 4,471 casualties and £224 million could be saved in Great Britain each year if restrictions were brought in for novice drivers aged 17 to 19 in the shape a graduated driver licencing system.

Alice Bailey, communications and campaigns adviser for Brake, said: “Our first years behind the wheel are among the most dangerous of our lives. 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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  • Laird.Expert - 24/05/2016 12:36

    Wholeheartedly agree with restricting inexperienced drivers. At the other end of the spectrum could there be less restrictions for experienced and better trained drivers?

  • Edward Handley - 24/05/2016 18:31

    Graduated licensing is a very tempting idea, but far more difficult to make effective, and workable, in practice than most people might anticipate. Limiting engine size sounds sensible but it is not as easy as it seems - a 1000 cc limit for example would mean that new drivers could not drive any 4X4 (apart from a Fiat Panda perhaps) but would be a major problem for farmers, while some very small engines can produce a lot of power . Maximum power output then x Kw? That has proved almost impossible to enforce on motorcycles, cars would be worse, and it would mean new drivers could not drive most vans thus restricting their employment prospects. Minimum training periods - great idea for driving instructors who would love the extra work but there would be a significant increase in the cost of learning to drive. Losing your licence for a single motoring offence is a non starter - we already have a system where new drivers revert back to a provisional licence if they get 6 points in the first 2 years, but only about half of those who drop back to a provisional get round to re-taking the test and it is highly unlikely that the other half actually give up driving - they just carry on driving on a provisional. Something does need to be done, but it needs to be thought through a lot more carefully and we must avoid knee jerk measures and beware the law of unintended consequences.

  • Misterconcerned - 25/05/2016 19:12

    Restricted Licences have been "in" in Northern Ireland for over 30 years. The only restriction being the speed limit for learners and 12 months after passing their test being 45 MPH on all roads. They also must display an "R" plate coloured orange. The N I Assembly are currently in consultation and from what I gather, on the verge of removing the speed restriction and "R" plate, however novice drivers will have passenger restrictions between certain times and have to display a "P" plate (probably) for two years. Personally I think I'm the only person I know who thinks that the restricted speed limit should remain for 12 months after passing the test as the figures in para 2 and the statement in the penultimate paragraph above explain why. Most others just think the slower vehicle causes a problem but I think that if they were driving more carefully there wouldn't be a problem.

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