The data doesn’t lie – young drivers (especially males) are the most likely group of motorists to be involved in a crash.
According to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, one fifth of people killed or seriously injured on UK roads in 2011 where involved in a collision where one driver was aged between 17 and 24. So what can be done to curb young driver collisions?
This week, we’re taking a look at the Government’s new proposals to bring in even more restrictions on learner and newly qualified motorists – but will these reactive measures work, or is it a case of needing to educate learner drivers better?
The Coalition is aiming to overhaul young driver rules in a bid to improve safety and cut insurance costs, which can be prohibitively expensive for teenage motorists. These include:
A MINIMUM LEARNING PERIOD BEFORE YOU CAN TAKE YOUR TEST
This will put a stop to intensive driver training courses. Some organisations believe these types of courses don’t give you the breadth of experience needed to drive, with the training only teaching you to get through the test, not preparing you for life on the open road.
Introducing this would force drivers to put in the time behind the wheel and gain the necessary experience needed to prepare you for more situations that could develop on the road than the current learning and test process accounts for.
ALLOWING LEARNERS TO PRACTICE ON MOTORWAYS
Motorways make up a huge part of the UK’s road network, yet learner drivers aren’t allowed to use them. Surely it would be advantageous to get some experience of the highest speed roads we have alongside an instructor who can correctly advise on how to navigate the road.
It’d help improve speed control, concentration, awareness and lane discipline – all important skills that are required for driving on the motorway and often if not practiced, the root cause of a crash.
INCREASING THE EXISTING NEW DRIVER PROBATIONARY PERIOD TO THREE YEARS
Currently, the period of restriction for new drivers is just two years. Within these first 24 months of passing their test, a driver’s licence is capped at a maximum six points before disqualification. The new rules would see this lengthened by one year.
It’s hoped that in doing so, it’d give drivers a longer period in which they have to be on their best behaviour. In general, young drivers can still not have the necessary knowledge and experience when their probation is up.
An extra year would help with motorists’ maturity and ensure those who haven’t ‘grown up’ have an extra year to do so.
MAKING THE DRIVING TEST MORE RIGOROUS
This links in with the above points. Making the driving test more rigorous means learners will have to undergo more training before sitting their practical exam, therefore gaining more experience before they come qualified.
It should also raise driving standards, too. It’ll only allow the best drivers to pass, forcing those who don’t make the grade to improve, or keeping them off the road.
MORE INCENTIVES FOR DRIVERS TO CONTINUE TRAINING AFTER THEY PASS THEIR TEST
You never stop learning in life, taking training course to improve at your job, so why not do the same when driving? Just because a driver of any age has passed their test, it doesn’t mean they know all there is to know about the subject.
Constant learning and professional training courses mean drivers won’t fall into bad habits, will keep up to date with motoring laws and should continue to perfect their technique. New or old, this can only make the roads safer.
Learners might not like it, but the plans outlined in the Government’s Green Paper review would almost certainly improve safety and driving standards, as well as reducing the rising number of young driver injuries and fatalities on UK roads.
If insurance costs come down as a result, then maybe learners and newly qualified drivers should be pushing for the reforms to be passed.
Do you have an opinion on driving standards in the UK?
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