RAC Cars News


RAC Recommends Graduated Licences

By raccars Published

The RAC has suggested a graduated driving licence scheme for young motorists, in a bid to cut the number of fatal road accidents. The number of 15-24 years olds dying in road accidents is greater than fatalities from knife crime, drugs and alcohol combined, making up 25% of the total number of drivers killed on British roads annually.

Of young drivers aged between 17-24, 20% report accidents within the first six months after obtaining their licence. In 2011, 1,552 young motorists were seriously injured or killed on British roads, which is more than four every day.

The RAC Foundation is recommending a graduated driving licence programme that will see restrictions put on driving at night and the number of passengers inexperienced drivers are allowed to carry. The aim is to give young drivers time to build up their experience behind the wheel, with a reduced level of risk. The same scheme has been used in other countries to great success, with total numbers of casualties falling by up to 32% and fatal collisions in the younger age group reduced by up to 60%, after a variety of licence restriction measures.

Despite accounting for a quarter of all road deaths and serious injuries in Britain, young drivers form only 8% of total licence holders. However, research has proved that their risk factor is roughly inverse to experience, diminishing as experience is gained. The first 1,000 miles behind the wheel are the most potentially dangerous.

The plan is the result of an RAC Foundation report called Young Driver Safety: Solutions to an Age-Old Problem, which studied accident data and graduated licence schemes in countries including Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada. The motoring safety organisation is recommending measures including:

A minimum one year learner drive term, which would have to include driving experience in a variety of road conditions, such as winter weather and night time.

The driver's first year holding a licence to include restrictions on the numbers of passengers and conditions applying to night time driving. A probationary period to last the first two years of holding a licence, similar to the existing system that involves the obligation to retake the test, if six penalty points are received within that period.

Further measures considered include a reduction in the legal blood alcohol threshold to 50mg per 100ml compared to the current legal limit of 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The RAC Foundation believes this could be the most significant condition out of all those proposed.

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