Britain: Young drivers face a ban on carrying anyone other than family members as passengers under proposals being considered by the Government to cut the number of road accidents involving teenagers.
“When I talk to young people who have recently passed their test what they say sometimes there is peer pressure is put on them to go fast, to show off.
“They are not anticipating an accident, but something goes wrong. They are not drivers with a huge amount of experience by the very fact of their being new drivers. I think we have got to look at that.
“There is a suggestion as to whether you should look at a restriction whether anyone could carry passengers for six or nine months when they have first passed their test,” Mr McLoughlin added.
“There are suggestions about them only perhaps being allowed to take a family member. To drive a car when you are learning, you have to have a qualified driver in the car. So these are all sorts of areas that I think we can we can look at,” he said.
“It is not an area I have closed my mind to, far from it.”
Mr McLoughlin’s remarks came against a backdrop of mounting concern at fatal accidents involving young drivers. Last month Eleanor Coleman, 19, from Great Yarmouth was sentenced to 15 months youth detention for killing her best by driving her Fiat Punto into a lorry parked in a layby following a Halloween party. The crash took place at 5 am.
Earlier this week Naimo Jones, 19, was jailed for six months after killing her best friend in a car crash in Blackpool. The court heard she was showing off when she lost control of her Vauxhall Corsa as it hurtled into a blind left-hand bend.
The proposals were given a “wholehearted welcome” by the road safety charity, Brake. “We have campaigned for many years for the Government to overhaul the system for training and testing drivers.
“Placing restrictions on newly qualified drivers would signficantly improve safety and help to reduce the appalling number of serious casualties that involve inexperienced novices.
“We know from research that young drivers are far more likely to crash when they have passengers of their age in the car. Placing this restriction makes sense.”
The ABI believes restricting the number of passengers is a move that the Government should take. A YouGov survey to be released next week by the insurance group will show significant public support for curbs on young drivers.
The survey will show that 71 per cent of Britons would back a limit on the number of young passengers that newly qualified young drivers are allowed to carry.
It will also show that 58 per cent of people support a curfew on night-time driving between 11pm and 4am for newly-qualified young drivers, unless they are driving to and from work.
The ABI said that both limits should be in place for the first six months after a person between the ages of 17 and 24 gets their driving licence.
James Dalton, who overseas motor policy at the ABI, said that “radical action” is needed to “reduce the tragic waste of young lives on our roads, especially among the 17-24 age group”.
“A car is potentially a lethal weapon,” said Mr Dalton.
An ABI spokesman added: “Any restrictions to limit the number of passengers young newly qualified young drivers can carry for an initial period after passing their test would be a step in the right direction.”
The Government has faced calls from the ABI and road safety groups to introduce what is known as a graduated licence, which would impose additional restrictions on drivers who have just passed their test.
In Northern Ireland for example, novice motorists must carry an R-plate and are not allowed to drive faster than 45 mph until they have been driving for a year.
The only restriction faced by novice drivers – irrespective of their age – is that they can have their licence revoked if they accumulate six penalty points within two years of parking their test.
How new restrictions would be enforced remains unclear. Road safety experts believe that young drivers who infringe the rules could face points on their licence or being sent on a course aimed at novice motorists.
Up until now the Government has resisted moves to introduce a graduated licence in England and Wales despite calls from organisations, such as the RAC Foundation, for such a move.
“We need to stop young people killing themselves – and others – on the roads. Casualties have been in decline but this age group is still shockingly over-represented in the stats,” said the Foundation’s director, Professor Stephen Glaister.
“If a modest curb on driving privileges can lead to a meaningful drop in death and injuries – and evidence from abroad suggests it can – then we would support some form of graduated licencing.”
Edmund King, the AA’s president, however, voiced doubts on imposing a ban on carrying passengers.
“It is something we think is extremely impractical,” he said. “We think it is sometimes useful to have a designated driver, who takes three mates home rather than having them travel in separate cars.”
“I can’t see how this will be enforced. How can you tell whether somebody in the car is a family member or not? What family members are included? Do they mean someone older? What is their role?
“These things sound reasonable but in practical terms they are very tricky”
Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety, said more work needed to be done before young drivers took their test.
“Young drivers remain a key area where we need to make progress. They are the economic future of our country.
“As well as looking at post-test restrictions, we also need to improve driver training and instruction and the quality of learning. IN that way, we can build quality driver learning.”
On Drunk Driving
By David Millward
The Daily Telegraph
November 11, 2012
The Government is already moving to toughen the law on drug-driving by making it a criminal offence simply to get behind the wheel having taken an illegal substance, without having to prove that driving was impaired as at present.
In addition, drivers who are only marginally over the limit when breathalysed will lose the right to demand a second blood or urine test.
This will close a loophole that allows them to sober up while they wait for the sample to be taken. In rural areas in particular, the delay can sometimes take an hour — occasionally more — meaning that they are more likely to be under the limit by the time the second reading is taken.
But it is the problem of the habitual drink-driver that is causing mounting concern in Whitehall. Government figures show a sharp rise in the number of motorists being convicted more than once for driving under the influence.
In 2000, 13,299 motorists received at least their second ban for drink driving. By 2009 this had risen to 19,605.
Over the same period the proportion of banned drivers disqualified for at least the second time rose from 16 per cent to 24 per cent.
The extent of the problem was underlined further in September when nearly one in 10 drivers interviewed in the Crime Survey of England and Wales admitted getting behind the wheel when over the drink-drive limit. According to Department of Transport figures, 280 people were killed in drink-drive accidents last year, 30 more than in the previous year. Even though the latest figure is half that of 2006, there is continued concern in Whitehall about the dangers posed by drink-driving.
It is not only repeat drink-drivers who are likely to be targeted under the proposals. A motorist repeatedly convicted for drug-driving is expected to face similar sanctions, with the car being confiscated and in most cases sold.
The same is likely to apply to motorists who, having taken drink or drugs, also recklessly disregard the rules of the road while driving.
“The police and the courts already have the power to seize vehicles in certain circumstances,” said Stephen Hammond, the roads minister. “We are currently exploring how we can make greater use of these powers to get the most dangerous and irresponsible motorists off the road.”
The move was given qualified backing by Andrew Howard, the AA’s head of road safety.
“We would accept the sanction being applied to repeat offenders,” he said. “But steps have to be taken to ensure it is applied fairly.
“A car is often vital for a household and it would be unfair for a family to lose its car for a one-off serious offence.”
The move was welcomed by Robert Gifford, executive director of the parliamentary advisory council for transport safety.
“The forfeiture of vehicles would send a clear message to repeat offenders that driving is a privilege and not a right,” he said.
“It would also give the courts another route through which to enforce the law.”