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 248.

    237. smilereg
    Surely it would be self financing if you merely divide the expected cost, new test centres and examiners etc, by the expected number of tests. That`s the test fee.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    do you know why there are so many unlicenced drivers on the roads ?
    because a licence is getting like a collectors item its getting near impossible to get one due to over crowded roads !

    Thats why they have a percentage failure system !

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    I work near a college and every single day I see teenagers driving mummy or daddy's car with their mates showing off and causing danger. Roads are now busier and cars more powerful - something's got to be done. How about no passengers for the first year?

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    I definitely think Motorway tuition should be compulsory. The woeful lack of understanding by a lot of motorway users (of all descriptions) is lamentable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    Every day we have a road safety initiative, however well meant. When will it all end? We could have no accidents at all if we just closed the roads and banned cars! Roads are to help us get around. All too often they seem to be a job creation exercise (especially my local council) for the ever-expanding road safety industry. Yet road deaths are at historic lows and compare very well with Europe

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    I've just received a survey from Essex council, asking me if I want to see changes to the training of cyclists, motorcyclists & young drivers. I assume that the survey was written, like this report, by middle aged car drivers, most of whom haven't read the highway code since they passed their test, have no concept of lane discipline & think the national speed limit on a single carriageway is 40mph

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    I think the learning part of driving needs to be more comprehensive and include night-time driving, motorway driving simulated winter driving (skid or ice pan) and be carried out in graduated steps. Im not a fan of a restricted 3 year period after passing a test, it should be building up to a final test.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    With the cost of insurance for new drivers, the current system encourages 17 and 18 year old people to pass the test and not drive for 3 or 4 years (until they are 21). So this change won't make any difference. A system needs to be in place that allows new drivers to drive, not put the licence away until they can afford insurance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    235. FreeSpeech

    We have. The "Pass Plus" scheme.
    It covers driving in precisely these conditions and is recognised by most insurance companies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    It is not the learner drivers it is the system. There should be a tick sheet system where you have to have ticked the boxes, with an authorized instructor/examiner to say that you have successfully driven in day/night time, all weather conditions been to the skid pan and finally on the motorway then every ten years you should be tested as drivers are now and have your eye-sight/hearing checked.

  • Comment number 238.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    Those that call for retests every ten years should think about the no. of people that already have licenses and divide that by 10 and thats immediately the no of test for the year without any new drivers and just think of the costs involved, its a none starter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    In order for new drivers to become good drivers, they need to understand and be taught a road share culture. They need to understand that when driving a car their licence gives them sole responsible for a potentially lethal weapon which has the ability to harm not just themselves but also more vulnerable road users if it is not treated with the utmost respect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    following on from 26 tomkin
    "..should be taught how to drive on motorways,how to drive in fog,how to drive in icy conditions,how to drive at night,how ,how to keep a safe distance etc etc.".

    If we had Driver Instructor Assessed certificates for driving in these adverse situations and make insurance companies give discounts for them then there's some carrot for people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    224. AndyC555
    Not "a bit creepy" , but positively, seriously illegal if he is a driving instructor!

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    "It's a crime to be young, and never forget it." Thats how some people sound on here. No I'm not young myself, I just have more respect for people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    The number of times someone has failed their test is not indicative of how good a driver they are, just what happened each time. My husband passed the second time after he was recommended in the first to try and keep all four wheels on the ground. I failed on different errors each time. When I passed at the 17th attempt, all the testers came and waved their congratulations at the window.

  • rate this

    Comment number 231.

    Everybody should have to take a test every 10 years considering how bad some of the driving you see on the. The quality of driving also seems to be terrible for BMW or Audi owners who constantly tailgate and are nearly always speeding or is it just the ego that the owners of these cars have that they believe they own the roads.

  • rate this

    Comment number 230.

    My grandson undertook training for the job he wanted, and at the age of 18 had to learn to drive so as to enable him to do that job, these proposals would have stopped him from doing that job as he could be on the road at any time, as for the drink limits ,that should apply to all drivers and has nothing to do with age,neither has age to do with passing the test, just having a go at youngsters

  • rate this

    Comment number 229.

    Certainly learning to handle all road conditions is important. I also think if road safety is a key issue, why not make it compulsory to have 1 refresher lesson including any updates to the highway code when you renew your photo licence every 10 years. The roads aren't the same as they were 10 years ago and they won't be the same in 10 years time. People won't do it of their own initiative.


Page 9 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.