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UK to clamp down on new drivers?

2013-10-14 21:09

MORE EXPERIENCE NEEDED: Plans have been proposed to the UK government that new drivers have to wait until the age of 18 before they can take their driver's test. Image: AFP

LONDON, England - The UK government wants to reduce the legal solo driving age but the AA president there, Edmund King, says that could be seen as “taking novice drivers off the road rather than helping them to develop the right attitudes and skills to provide them with the mobility they need".

According to a report reported by the Daily Mail, teenagers could be forced to wait until they are 18 before they qualify for a driving licence; other plans include any new drivers aged less than 30 from giving friends a lift or even driving late at night.


The current legal driving age in the UK is 17; the plans published by the state mean no nightdriving could be valid for 12 months after they pass their test.

King added: "Rather than compensating the proposed significant new restrictions through earlier access to the roads under supervision, the authors propose delaying and extending the driving development process to the point where even some 30-years-olds will be restricted in whom they can carry as passengers."

A spokesman for the UK's transport department, it was reported, said the research would inform an upcoming consultative Green Paper on new drivers: "Young drivers drive around five percent of all the kilometres driven in Britain but are involved in about 20% of the crashes in which a person is killed or seriously injured.”

The Daily Mail reported that the proposals prepared for the transport department would include new drivers facing a lower drink-drive limit for a year, regardless of their age.

The report comes from the Transport Research Laboratory which called for the introduction of "a graduated driver licensing" system involving "aseries of landmarks after the formal test before being considered competent to drive without restrictions".


The system is used in Canada and parts of the US, the lab said, and could cut the number of people killed and injured on Britain’s roads by more than 4470 a year.

The report stated: "The younger a driver is when licensed to drive, the more likely a collision. And the post-licence driving period, when on-road experience is lacking, is the riskiest time."

The proposals will be considered by the UK's transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin and could be included in a formal consultation to be published before the end of 2013.

McLoughlin is said to be open-minded about the issue, which balances road safety again personal liberty and the needs of young people to commute or attend tertiary learning institutions. The proposals call for new drivers to log 120 hours of supervised practice, including 20 hours at night and their car would carry 'P' (for probationary) driver.
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