Road safety review a “missed opportunity” to deal with dangers of inexperienced drivers

Steve McCabe MP - Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Year - has described a Government review of ro
Young people aged 15 – 24 are more likely to die in a preventable road crash than they are to die for any other single cause. Whilst young people account for 12% of licence holders they are involved in one in four road deaths and serious injuries. Every year more than 3,300 young drivers and passengers aged 17-24 are killed or suffer a life-changing serious injury as a result of a road crash.
 
Research from outside the UK has shown that systems of graduated driver licensing are effective and reduce deaths and injury. Graduated systems ensure that new drivers are not given exactly the same rights as experienced motorists from the moment they pass their test. New drivers are expected to gain further experience driving at night or on motorways, for example, or are not permitted to drive between certain hours of the night.
 
Steve McCabe MP said, “Whilst I welcome on-the-spot fines for loutish behaviour on our roads I am concerned that little is being done to reduce deaths and injuries caused by novice drivers. Unfortunately innocent bystanders are often victims of driver inexperience.
 
“The evidence is clear that novice drivers need more hours behind the wheel before being handed all the rights of the road. It is no surprise to discover that as drivers become more experienced they become better drivers. The UK system allows young drivers to get a full licence within weeks of their 17th birthday. 50,000 17 year olds who have been driving for less than 6 months pass their test every year.
 
“This is a missed opportunity. The Government could have taken some very simple low to no cost steps to change the way our youngsters learn to drive.  Insisting on a certain number of hours professional tuition for example before  a full licence is granted or taking a zero tolerance approach to alcohol for new drivers would in themselves have been important steps forward.”
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