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Newly Qualified Drivers Could Be Banned From Carrying Passengers

The government is considering a change in the L driver licensing process to stop newly qualified young drivers from giving lifts to friends in efforts to stop peer-pressure car crashes.

Drivers under the age of 25 could be prevented from having any young passengers in the vehicle as part of a ‘graduated driving licence’.

Young drivers could be banned from offering lifts in the first 12 months after they gain their licence. One of the contributing factors in accidents involving young drivers is from crashes influenced by peer pressure.

These drivers make up only 6% of drivers in the UK – but account for one in every five serious or fatal crashes.

At this time, there are no extra rules in place for recently qualified drivers that limit who can be in the car once a driver has passed their L test.  But drivers have to pass a probationary period of two years where they are only allowed six points on their licence before having it revoked.

Although nothing is currently confirmed, critics of the potential changes have stated that drivers who are under 25 account for fewer than those over 85 – but there are no discussions about similar rules for these licence holders.

Campaign groups such as the Support for Victims of Road Crashes, which acts as an advisor to the Department for Transport (DfT), has backed the plans.

Sharron Huddleston, 52, from Cumbria, whose daughter Caitlin, 18, was killed in a car crash after taking a lift with a friend says “ Caitlin’s death  has left a huge, gaping hole in our family. Every Christmas, every birthday, it is just devastating.

“There is nothing I can do to bring Caitlin back but I am determined, in her memory, to ensure that no other family goes through the pain and agony that we go through every day.”

In May 2023, there will be discussions in parliament over the future of the Road Traffic (New Drivers Act).

A Department of Transport spokesman said  “Every death or serious injury on our roads is a tragedy and we continue to work tirelessly to improve road safety for all users.

“Our approach to improving safety for new and novice drivers is through new technology and improving education, while reinforcing vital road safety messages through our Think! campaign.”

Roads Minister Richard Holden will now consider amendments, and an official announcement is expected after a meeting that is schedule on May 16th.

RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: “We’re very pleased to see that graduated driving licences are once again under consideration more than three and a half years after the Government last said it would look into their merits.

“Young people, and especially young men, continue to be massively over-represented in road collision statistics, so introducing restrictions that are gradually reduced over the first few years of driving may be one of the measures needed to bring the dreadful numbers down.

“It’s important any graduated driver licensing scheme doesn’t disadvantage young people who depend on their cars for work, so a balance needs to be struck between new drivers gaining the mobility.

Paul Beresford, Director of Defensive Driver Training Ltd said, “we get lots of calls from worried parents whose children have recently passed the basic L test. We encourage them to make sure that their children as a minimum do the Pass Plus training.  But a further session with one of the advanced driving organisations will rapidly enhance a novice driver’s awareness and skill levels.  There is plenty of evidence that the inability to read the “limit point” on a country road is a major factor on late night collisions usually resulting in severe injuries and fatalities.  A car travelling too fast on the approach to a bend will inevitably leave the road and usually hits a tree.  The impact of a head on collision is catastrophic for the passengers when the car decelerates from 60 to 0 m.p.h. in a matter of a few feet.

A trained driver will know how to read the bend and set an appropriate speed by reading the limit point and the road layout.  We would encourage any parent to buy their children a copy of the Police Driving Manual Roadcraft and check out the videos on Youtube that explain the “limit point” principle. “