The ABI (Association of British Insurers) have called for an overhaul of the way in which people learn to drive.
The ABI pointed out that drivers aged 17-24 are responsible for a disproportionately high number of crashes. Of course, this information is nothing new. It has long been known that drivers aged 17-24 make up less than 10% of the total number of drivers on the road yet are involved in 50% of injury-causing crashes between 10pm and 5am, 50% of single vehicle crashes and nearly 50% of crashes in the rain. They also account for almost a third of failed roadside breathalyser tests.
Bearing these facts in mind, it’s hardly surprising to hear that the ABI want new drivers to be prevented from driving at night and to face a lower alcohol limit than experienced drivers.
To balance the need for extra training, the ABI have suggested that new drivers should be allowed to start driving lessons when they are aged 16-and-a-half rather than the current age of 17.
Otto Thoresen, Director General of the ABI, spoke out about the need to increase boost the safety of young drivers, saying: “Radical action is needed to reduce the tragic waste of young lives on our roads, especially among the 17 to 24 age group.
“A car is potentially a lethal weapon, and we must do more to help young drivers better deal with the dangers of driving. Improving the safety of young drivers will also mean that they will face lower motor insurance costs.
“Northern Ireland is introducing reforms, and politicians in Westminster should follow their lead in introducing meaningful reform to help today’s young drivers become tomorrow’s safer motorists.”
So what do the ABI want?
- For learner drivers to be banned from taking intensive driving courses as their only driver training.
- To see a new ‘graduated’ licence for new drivers during their first 6 months on the road. The graduated licence would include restrictions such as:
-Limiting the amount of passengers a new driver could carry.
-Preventing new drivers from driving between 11:00pm and 4:00am unless travelling to or from work or college.
-Setting a blood alcohol limit of zero for the first six months of a new driver’s time on the road.
- They also suggest lowering the age at which you can learn to drive from 17 to 16-and-a-half.
The ABI’s report states that they are making the recommendations “primarily from a road safety perspective” but they do acknowledge that if their recommendations were implemented, insurance for young drivers would decrease. They describe lower insurance premiums as “an added benefit to society”.
Image via State Farm.