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Extra Hurdle for Young Drivers?

Thursday 13th February 2014

Young people could have to wait even longer until they are allowed to drive.

A recent Department for Transport commissioned report by Transport Research Laboratory has made several proposed changes to the rules governing learner and young drivers. The research is part of the UK Government’s ‘Making Roads Safer’ Policy.

Outlining the report, its authors stated that, “the over-representation of young novice drivers in road collisions is a public health risk in Great Britain and worldwide. The key contributory factors to this problem are known and are cross-cultural; they are youth and inexperience.”

Statistics show that younger drivers are much more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident, but are these ideas the right way to go? Maybe your young people are about to start learning to drive, or have recently passed their test, how do they feel about these proposals becoming a reality?

The report’s recommendations:

  • Minimum learner period of 12 months, starting at 17, with a further 12 month probationary period.
  • Minimum 100 hours daylight and 20 hours night supervised practice supported by mandatory logbook. This can be completed by an ADI / parent / guardian or other supervising driver.
  • Removal of motorway restriction for learner drivers.
  • Possibly suggesting lowering of blood alcohol limit to 0.2 g/l for all drivers.
  • Green P plate legally required for 12 months after passing test.
  • No driving between 10pm and 5am unless with adult over 30 during first 12 months of licence.
  • Drivers under 30 in their first 12 months of having a licence cannot carry a passenger under 30 unless they are accompanied by another adult over 30.

Some BB young people gave us their reactions to these proposals…

Charlie, 18 who is currently learning to drive, says:

“It would be crazy to bring in the rules on curfews and having a passenger who is at least 30 years old. I’m still learning to drive; one of the main reasons is so I can open up my job prospects when I finish my A-levels later this year. If I end up doing shift work at a supermarket, which let’s face it could be what I end up doing, I could be working all hours. And I would want to be able to drive to and from work, whether it was 2pm in the afternoon or 1am in the morning.”

James, 20 who is a new driver says:

“I’m not so sure that it’ll make much of a difference to be honest. The saying “You don’t learn to drive until you’ve passed your test” is true. It’s not until you actually drive yourself that you begin to learn. What about the people who pass at 17 and are never involved in any accidents whilst being young? Why should they be punished? There are many flaws in the new proposals; No driving at night, unless you have an adult over 30 to accompany you. What difference does it make if you’re 27, 28 or 29? … I do however like the suggestion of removing motorway restrictions for learner drivers. I think that it should already be compulsory to learn to drive on a motorway, as it can be a pretty daunting experience if you drive on them alone for the first time.”

Oliver, 17 who passed his test in October, says:

“I don’t think it’s fair… why are we being targeted. It was already a long wait for me, having to wait until I was 17 to pass my test, why should I have to wait longer. I already pay a big insurance premium to have the privilege of driving and have one of the boxes which records how I drive. The box installed in my car affects how much my insurance is going to cost, this means that I do think about the way I drive…. I think I’m a good, careful and courteous driver. I’m certainly not in favour of any of these proposals.”

The AA Motoring agency provided this response:

“… the AA would welcome many of the other recommendations, in particular putting road safety on the national curriculum and allowing learner drivers on motorways. In essence, the report advocates implementing a full graduated driving licence system in the UK. This would mean someone learning to drive at 17 would have to successfully complete a 12-month minimum learning period before taking their test and a 12-month probationary licence period after their test before they gained a full licence. This would have a great impact on the lives on young people and their families. Under the recommendations, an 18-year-old who had passed their learner driver test and had a probationary licence would not be able to drive themselves home after a shift that finished after 10pm – as most evening shifts do.”

In the Republic of Ireland, you need to be 17 to obtain a driving licence, but must wait at least six months between obtaining your provisional and sitting your test.

Share what your young people think, email us at newsdesk@boys-brigade.org.uk

Continue the conversation on Twitter: #BBvoice

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