Young drivers could face curfew to cut accident rates

Motorway Learner drivers could be permitted to take lessons on motorways to broaden their experience

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Young drivers could face a curfew as part of government efforts to prevent accidents and reduce "sky-high" insurance premiums.

They could also be made to spend a year learning before taking their tests.

And after they pass, their "probation period", during which six - rather than the usual 12 - penalty points results in disqualification, could be extended.

A fifth of road accidents resulting in death or serious injury involve drivers under the age of 24.

The average annual insurance premium for a 17 to 18-year-old road-users is more than £1,800.

Transport ministers and insurance bosses held talks on Monday on how to improve safety, with a full government green paper outlining possible future legislation to be published later in the spring.


Official statistics show the risk of accidents is significantly raised at night time and, at the meeting, the Association of British Insurers raised the possibility of a curfew for drivers aged 17 to 24.

Another idea discussed was limiting the number of passengers young motorists can carry in their car and a zero-alcohol limit.

Currently drivers can take their test as soon as they are 17, but ministers are looking at creating a minimum learning period, possibly of six months or a year, to give them more on-the-road experience.

Learners could also take lessons on motorways, which is banned at present.

At the moment, newly qualified drivers can be banned from the road for amassing six - rather than the usual 12 - penalty points. This "probationary period" could be extended from two to three years.

And driving tests could change to include more unsupervised driving time, where examiners can observe candidates in more "natural" surroundings to assess their skills.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "It is alarming that a fifth of people killed or seriously injured on our roads in 2011 were involved in a collision where at least one driver was aged 17 to 24.

"Improving the safety of our young drivers is therefore a real priority and will not only reduce casualties but should also mean a reduction in the sky-high insurance premiums they pay."

Otto Thoresen, director-general of the Association of British Insurers, said: "We have long campaigned for changes to the current approach to learning to drive which does little to help young people become safe, secure drivers.

"Sadly young newly qualified drivers are at a much higher risk of having a serious crash on our roads which is reflected in the cost of their car insurance. Insurers want to see young drivers become safe drivers which in turn will result in more affordable premiums."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 852.

    Raise the starting age limit to 25, hopefully, by then many will have a degree of commonsense to drive a vehicle responsibly and with due care and attention for other road users.

  • rate this

    Comment number 731.

    Curfew is unworkable. What the government should do is bring in something like the motorcycle CBT but for cars as it would stop people who have just passed their test purchasing high powered cars that they cannot control. This could lead to cheaper insurance premiums as the cars they'll be able to drive will have limited horsepower depending on age and experience.

  • rate this

    Comment number 609.

    Some provinces in Canada already have this type of graduated licencing: in Ontario, you receive a G1 licence, which allows you to learn to drive, then after twelve months you can take a test to get your G2 licence (which has less restrictions), then after another 12 months you take another test to receive your full licence. I don't see why the UK shouldn't have something similar :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    I didn't just spend thousands of pounds on 2 years of lessons, an overpriced driving test, a car, road tax, insurance, an MOT and a new set of tyres to not be allowed out at night. I'm an adult with responsibilities and a full time job, this suggestion is frankly insulting.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    How about this solution:

    I'd like to see all new cars fitted with small camera's giving a 360 degree view around the car inside and out and a black box recording device.

    This would be a very cheap way of giving insurance companies an indisputable record of any accident - paving the way for an eradication of false claims, lower premiums and even allowing for prosecution of protagonists.


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