Driving licences should be graduated, says RAC Foundation

learner driver Novice drivers could face four years of restrictions

Related Stories

Learner drivers in the UK should face a graduated system of licences to help reduce road deaths, says a report by the RAC Foundation.

The study suggests that hundreds of lives a year could be saved if such a system were adopted.

New drivers would face a four-year learning period during which they would be subject to restrictions.

The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand already have graduated learning for drivers.

The RAC Foundation said such countries had seen a significant reduction in the number of young people being killed in accidents.

Deaths among 17- to 24-year-olds have fallen by up to 60%, and the number of overall casualties has fallen by up to 32%.

"Putting a firm number on casualty reduction is hard because of the pick-and-mix approach to graduated licensing," said Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation.

"But the evidence suggests that a full package of measures could reduce fatalities by anything up to 60%," he said.

In the UK, one in five novice drivers has an accident within six months of passing their test.

In 2011, more than 1,500 young drivers were killed or seriously injured, a rate of four a day, said the Foundation.

New system

The report says that the first 1,000 miles of driving may be the most important for cutting the risk of an accident.

woman learner driver Drivers could also face a stricter drink-drive limit, under the proposals

So it is calling for a three-stage, graduated, system. New drivers would face restrictions for four years:

  • Stage one

A one-year minimum driving period, before the test is taken. Drivers would need to experience a wide range of conditions, including winter driving and night driving.

  • Stage two

After the test is taken, drivers would face restrictions for a further year. The number of passengers they could carry might be limited, and night driving might also be restricted.

  • Stage three

A further two-year probationary period. If during the period a driver receives six penalty points, they would have to take a re-test.

The Foundation would also like to see a stricter drink-drive limit.

At the moment the legal maximum is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

But this figure could be reduced to 50mg.


Earlier this year, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said young drivers could save up to 20% on their insurance premiums, if restrictions were put in place for newly-qualified drivers.

This might include limits on night-time driving, and restrictions on the number of passengers they are able to carry.

As a result new drivers might be able to save as much as £370 a year.

The government is currently considering a range of similar proposals, and will shortly decide whether to change the rules on driving tests.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    and how much would it cost someone to learn ? your talking a couple of thousand probably.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    Excellent idea.. though I'd like to see a drink or drive, zero, limit introduced then we know exactly where we stand.

    You get bad drivers of all ages and genders, though I like to think most are just lapses of concentration rather than being a full-time road troll... they are obvious to spot.

    Best advice: drive like everyone else is an idiot: lots of space, clear signals / manoeuvres.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    Cars ruin villages, especially cars in the hands of younger drivers careering about the place.

    Villages weren't designed for cars. My own village high street has cars parked up one side. this results in cars at either end, waiting to pull out and use the available lane. Their exhaust fumes are abhorrent.

    Ban cars from villages. If I manage perfectly well with my bicycle then others can as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    @ Damian Leach - eye tests every 2 years after 45 would be better, my eyes changed overnight when I was 45, and this happens to most people around that age. They have also changed every 2 years... this year it was only one year... I have had no penalty points or convictions in 40 years of driving, but still feel that I would have benefited from having to resit my test say, at 50, so did bike test

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    There should be a strict control on the number of times somebody can take the test, say 5 times.
    If somebody needs 83 tests to finally pass, I don't want them on the roads, ever.
    I'd be a lousy driver, I'm far too nervous. I choose not to drive for the safety of everybody else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    The problem of young drivers is not cars or license, it is inexperience. Young have better reactions but lack experience of what is likely to happen. Young as a consequence have more accidents and pay high insurance as a result. I propose a system of limiters such as Germany have, used voluntarily. To set speedlimits + acceleration and use would qualify for drastic insurance reduction.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    Restrict the provisional license to low performance vehicles.
    Then they can take a advance driving test to get a full license.

    No. Seriously, don't introduce ANOTHER test and even more you have to shed out on lessons and the test itself. Besides, what else would you include in it different to the curren test?

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    For instance, Iowa has a graduated scheme whereby teens earn their driving privileges by a 3 step process:

    At 14, you can drive with supervision.

    At 16, an intermediate licence allows driving during designated hours without supervision if you have passed a test.

    At 17 you get a full licence if you've had a clean sheet for 12 months.

    Anyone up for this in the UK?

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    I passed my test in Jan 2012 when I was 19. I could afford my lessons and test, but not a car.. Some of us don't have the luxury of our parents buying us cars!
    Just a tad unfair if you ask me..
    Life's is unfair. I can't afford not to work. I want to live in a huge mansion and have George Clooney at my beck and call.....how "unfair" is that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    What about those how have no intention of passing any kind of test, but still drive? For these people a £60 fine & a 1,000,000 points on a license which does not exist is not going to stop them from driving the very next day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    This should be focused on anyone taking a test, at any age. We also need more police enforcing rules like mobile phone usage. This system could work well if it was enforced and policed properly. I have noticed, over the last few years, the driving skills of people seem to have become more dangerous, but this is not just youngsters some of the worst have been older people

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    This is addressed in the PASS PLUS course.
    @52. Reclaim_the_country

    I would suggest that with the extremely high insurance premiums for young drivers and the peer pressure they are exposed to (EG. macho passenger saying GET YOUR TOE down you wimp) that they should pass inc Pass Plus then DON'T drive for 2 yrs.

    Peer pressure is probably the cause of many of the accidents. Tests cannot fix that!

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    You are aware that teen and post-teen males are the highest insurance risk group - ever thought why? The statistics do show that they are the involved in the most crashes (I don't say "accidents", because most are not - but caused by human error). Don't have a downer on youngsters - I'm male and was young once. 50 years using motorbikes, lorries and cars - yet I'm still alive: amazing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    Perhaps the Government should fix the road surfaces instead of blaming crashes on inexperience.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    How about keeping people on a provisional license after they pass, for two or five years. So they can get experience.
    Restrict the provisional license to low performance vehicles.

    Then they can take a advance driving test to get a full license.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    One thing that is never explained to new drivers is the totally different handling and braking characteristics between vehicles with driver only and one with 4/5 people on board. 2-4 am on a Sunday morning seems to be the time that single vehicle accidents occur usually with 5 people in a car when the driver loses control resulting unhappily in fatalities. Alcohol plays a large part as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Maybe the kind of car should be tied to the insurance premium for new drivers, so that it is only possible for them to get insurance for smaller, slower, safer cars, and make it a sensible premium so all can afford it. Could maybe organise a fleet of these cars that can be leased for a year, to prevent an inflated market value as you see with smaller motorcycles.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    An easier solution would be to reverse the current points system so you'd earn points for each year of penalty-free driving and lose them for breaking the law. When you get below zero you lose your licence for 6 months. Much simpler to implement and the new drivers starting out with no points would drive an awful lot more cautiously.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    I work as a broker, currently introducing "black box" telematics to the market. Contrary to popular belief amongst the younger drivers, we are doing this to be able to reduce premiums and it works! And we also note that young women are now just as high a risk as young men, thanks to similar mileages being done and attitudes changing. Attitude is all important and education will help!

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    "As a result new drivers might be able to save as much as £370 a year."

    That's about 10% of my sons insurance on a 1.1L Fully comprehensive, restricted to 6000 miles pa, with a black box.

    He has been in two non fault accidents, both not his fault hit by people older than 40's both talking on mobile phones at junctions.

    So exactly why are the young ALWAYS to blame?


Page 17 of 21


More Business stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.