Nine out of 10 support restrictions on new driver

Staying safe on the roads - young drivers
Staying safe on the roads - young drivers
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Ninety-two per cent of people believe newly-qualified drivers should be subject to restrictions on their driving, according to new research.

Among the suggestions are that new drivers should have limits on carrying passengers, the times of day they can drive and their car’s engine size.

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

Brake

The survey also revealed most people think there should be stricter requirements for learners before they can sit their test in the first place.

Road safety charity Brake commissioned the study into opinions on new drivers after recent figures revealed young and inexperienced drivers account for a disproportionately high number of road deaths.

Despite making up only 1.5 per cent of the UK’s drivers, 17 to 19-year-olds are involved in 9 per cent of all fatal accidents and 2,088 drivers and passengers aged 17 to 24 were seriously injured or killed in road accidents in 2013.

Among the most popular options for limiting new drivers were a zero-tolerance drink-drive limit, which was backed by 63 per cent of respondents, and the obligatory use of ‘P’ plates to denote a probationary driver, backed by 66 per cent.

A third of people (35 per cent) also thought anyone convicted of a driving offence in their first year behind the wheel should have their licence revoked, and a similar number (38 per cent) said there should be restrictions on nighttime driving unless it is for work or education.

What’s more, half of those surveyed believed that setting a maximum engine size for new drivers’ vehicles would help reduce the number of teenagers and young people killed and injured on the roads.

Anecdotal evidence suggests young people are more likely to take risks at the wheel and show off to their peers. Forty-four per cent of those questioned said banning new drivers from carrying young passengers unless they were family members was a good idea.

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 licensing would make young and novice drivers much safer and save lives.”

According to Brake, analysis of Department for Transport figures suggesting 4,471 casualties and £224 million pounds could be saved in Britain each year if a graduated driver licensing system was introduced.

The Brake study also found most people supported some form of graduated licensing, with 85 per cent backing the idea of a minimum number of supervised hours before a person could sit their test. Seventy-nine per cent also believed that there should be a minimum period of learning, with nearly half (47 per cent) agreeing that potential drivers should be learning for at least six months before sitting the test.