Young drivers 'could face passenger restrictions'

Driver's L plate being ripped up Newly-qualified drivers could face restrictions on the passengers they can carry

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Ministers may consider moves to ban young drivers in England and Wales from carrying anyone except family members as passengers, reports suggest.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told the Daily Telegraph he was looking at ways of reducing road deaths involving newly-qualified motorists.

Insurers believe peer pressure on young drivers can lead them to take risks.

The Department for Transport says the issue is being considered but there are "no plans" for legislation.

The Association of British Insurers says drivers aged 17-24 are responsible for a disproportionately high number of crashes, deaths and claims.

It says an 18-year-old is more than three times as likely as a 48-year-old to be involved in a crash, and that a third of drivers killed in car accidents were under 25.

That was despite the fact that the under 25s form only one in eight of all car drivers.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr McLoughlin said he would consider measures put forward by the ABI which could cut the number of accidents involving young motorists.

Start Quote

Other countries have adopted these measures and their experience has shown that they're largely self-policing”

End Quote Malcolm Tarling Association of British Insurers

"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," he told the newspaper.

"When I talk to young people who have recently passed their test, what they say sometimes is that 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 look at."

It comes six weeks after the Association of British Insurers called for an overhaul in the system - suggesting people should spend a year learning to drive and urging the introduction of a graduated licence for the first six months after passing a test.

ABI spokesman Malcolm Tarling denied that a restriction on who young drivers could carry as passengers would be difficult to enforce.

He said: "In terms of policing, you could use that argument for just about anything, really.

"Other countries have adopted these measures and their experience has shown that they're largely self-policing.

"Of course there will always be people who will look to avoid the law, but the reality is if you impose something like this, and encourage people to follow it, international experience has shown that that is exactly what people do."

But Neil Greig from the Institute of Advanced Motorists said forcing young motorists to carry only family members with them in the car would not necessarily make them safer drivers.

"Young drivers themselves admit that they are lacking experience, but we don't believe that restricting people - such as curfews at night and restricting the number of passengers they can carry - is the way to develop that experience.

"They need the opportunities to get to learn, by doing these things, by carrying young people, by going out at night - how else can they learn?"

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Improving the safety and ability of young drivers is a key priority for the government, which is why we have made the driving test more realistic - and are also considering how to improve training for drivers after they pass their test.

"There are no plans to introduce graduated licensing in England and Wales.

"However, we are working with young people, the insurance industry, and other key partners to identify what more can be done to ensure that newly qualified drivers are properly prepared and drive safely.

"We will consider carefully any ideas that reduce the risks of accidents involving young drivers."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 363.

    All those wishing to drive should spend six months in the front seat with a stick-on steering wheel and beep-beep thingy, Madge and Maggie Simpson stye.

    It won't cut down accidents, but it's as sensible as the proposal from Mrs McLoughlin's little darling.

    MPs should not be allowed out unless accompanied by their parents.

  • rate this

    Comment number 362.

    I am a young driver and I think that this would be a good thing as no new driver is a good and safe driver. People are still learning when they pass and people may disagree but no starter is good. Me myself avoid taking friends because if something was to happen my life could be ruined and I could be responsible for ruining someone elses life or even killing someone.

  • rate this

    Comment number 361.

    How about banning accident prone drivers? They have a proven track record for crashing cars, as opposed to the teen, who has just passed his test and hasn't yet had an accident. It's like putting a child in jail for something he might do later in life..
    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

  • rate this

    Comment number 360.

    What about the youngsters who need to drive for work? My son has been driving as part of his job since he was 17 and wouldn't have been able to do it otherwise as he has to travel to the customer's premises .

  • rate this

    Comment number 359.

    The test should simply be more difficult. Its unbelieveable the amount of baffoons that seem to pass their test. I passed my test at 17 with around 40 hours worth of lessons - this is not enough, its far too easy to pass. I am lucky having never been invloved in an accident in 5 years of driving but everyday I see clueless young drivers driving like idiots.

  • rate this

    Comment number 358.

    Yes, there are young folk who take risks in cars as a result of peer pressure, I had schoolmates who died at the of 17 as the result of playing chicken in a high performance car. There is a noble intention here, however, I was able to climb into cars with friends at that age and not come close to anything like risky behaviour. This tars all young people with the same brush and is unenforceable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 357.

    Might as well go the whole hog and ask everyone over 60 to re-take their tests, I'm sure ministers wouldn't take long to 'mull' that one!

  • rate this

    Comment number 356.

    "could face" the headline is just another piece made up by the BBC.....I'm glad I pay my license fee for this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 355.

    314 - Grow up!
    Limit power to weight ratio of a car to something sensible. Curfew young drivers (11pm - 5am would enable working). P plates don't work. Prevent young drives from adding custom mods and limit ICE noise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 354.

    If the extortionate cost of motor insurance for young people cant make them drive more appropriately then maybe this should be considered but you also have to realise that learning as a driver doesnt end with the test , it goes on for years afterwards and whilst you learning , mistakes are made .

  • rate this

    Comment number 353.

    Big brother......watching your sentenced for making a comment to Cameron.....another man jailed for wearing an offensive t shirt? Limiting who you can have in your car?
    Wake up people .......Greece ...problems caused by put a banker in charge of the country?

  • rate this

    Comment number 352.

    Most of those accidents are simply caused by lack of experience - having just passed their test young drivers expect others to have similar standards; not to weave around the road without indicating and assume large and expensive cars driven by "important" people have priority.
    Restrictions will just keep them off the road and they'll still lack experience. Deal with bad drivers first!

  • rate this

    Comment number 351.

    This is unworkable, rules of the road are not followed by drivers in general, so making more rules won't help. Enforce the ones we have now like speed limits, not driving through red light, not parking on pavements etc etc. You take your life in your hands every time you get behind the wheel.

  • rate this

    Comment number 350.


    Their should be restrictions for newly badged drivers. Experience very much dictates people's driving habits. After nearly 15 years of driving, I know the cars I am driving, capabilities of other people's cars as well as the knowledge of the roads I am driving on

    New drivers dont have that and its that lack of experience which all to often is the cause of accidents

  • rate this

    Comment number 349.

    Pt 3
    For learner drivers, the Australian system of Provisional licences that restrict speed limits and carry a zero blood alcohol limit is a useful approach. Not perfect, but useful.

    Pt 4
    400 characters seems a bit brief for complex subject matter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 348.

    8 Minutes ago
    This kind of restriction on young drivers has been in place in New Zealand for years. About time our old 'Mother of Democracies' caught up with others in the world who seem to do it better.

    Only problem with your theory is that road safety in the UK is superior to that in both NZ & Oz. I was in Oz one Xmas, & 13 Australians died in RTAs on the Boxing Day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 347.

    Yet more and more government interference in our ordinary daily lives.We are fast becoming the most over regulated country in the world. Little wonder that crime rates are rising as ordinary people cannot keep up with the constant deluge of new offences that are being created.

  • rate this

    Comment number 346.

    This seems to be yet another example of the Govt. looking around for something that's not broken and then deciding to fix it.

    Define "family members" for this purpose? Who will enforce it? Will the police carry out random stops of cars carrying passengers and a demand to see birth and marriage certificates? Will half-brothers/sisters count if they haven't been formally adopted?


  • rate this

    Comment number 345.

    How about limiting engine power for 2 years? Not all youths want to load up their car and drive around at night with their friends, some do yes, but not all. Putting restrictions on passengers, driving at certain times etc might fit in with the average family, but it doesn't take into consideration youths working odd hours far from home or those who car share (which is encouraged!)

  • rate this

    Comment number 344.

    How would you police this? maybe the ministers could take away all our rights and democratic freedoms as it would appear to them that everyone has to be treated as if they are irresponsible because of the minority again.


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