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Public Supports Restrictions On Young Drivers

By raccars Published

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An RAC Foundation survey suggests that 68% of the general public believe that restrictions should be imposed upon young, newly qualified drivers. 'Graduated licensing' would involve placing limits on when and with whom young motorists can drive for their first year on the road after passing their driving test.

A survey of more than 2,000 people showed that 66% would approve a restriction upon the number of passengers that could be carried by drivers under the age of 24, with 61% supporting a curfew on driving between midnight-5am. The scheme even found approval among the age group in question, with 41% supporting restrictions and only 32% opposing. The idea is to reduce the level of risk novice drivers face while they gain experience behind the wheel.

The government has previously agreed to write legislation on the issue but has been accused of dragging its heels, having thus far failed to produce anything concrete. While novices aged 17-19 account for only one in 60 drivers in the UK, they are involved in 12% of road fatalities, making young driver safety an important issue. Graduated licence schemes are already used in a number of other countries and a previous report concluded that it could potentially reduce injuries by 4,500 per year, including 430 fatalities.

At the other end of the scale, similar concerns have been expressed about older drivers who may not realise that they are no longer safe behind the wheel. There is currently no mandatory requirement for a re-test over a certain age but some older drivers may find their reactions have slowed or that in general they are less confident behind the wheel.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists has developed a voluntary testing process, the Mature Driver's Assessment, which for £35 will give an impartial and confidential review of your driving abilities. The two step process involves a 60 minute practical assessment with an IAM staff member, using your own car on routes you know. A family member or friend can sit in if you wish. This is followed by a written report and certificate graded 'Excellent' or 'Competent' where applicable, or a gentle advisory that some additional training may be in order.

The IAM has designed the programme with the sensitivity of the issue in mind, as many older drivers struggle to come to terms with the curtailments of their freedom that possible driving restrictions could bring. The assessment should make both drivers and their families more confident about their continuing driving career.

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