Poll: Should teenagers have to wait until they are 18 before taking the driving test?
- Credit: PA
Teenagers face having to wait an extra year before being allowed to take a driving test under proposals being looked at by the Government.
Tighter rules aimed at cutting the number of accidents involving young motorists have been put forward that include issuing probationary licences only from the age of 18.
The Government-commissioned report by the Transport Research Laboratory suggests introducing a 12 month 'learner stage' that would require drivers to clock up at least 100 hours of daytime and 20 hours of night-time supervised practice.
For the first year, newly qualified drivers would be hit by a curfew running between 10pm and 5am unless they were carrying a passenger aged over 30, as well as a ban on carrying anyone younger than that age if they were under it themselves.
More than one fifth of deaths on Britain's roads in 2011 involved drivers aged 17 to 24, and around 10pc of novice drivers are caught committing an offence within their probationary period.
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This morning, Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey tweeted: 'Not sure all parents in rural areas will be thrilled if minimum driving age rises to 18.'
A DfT spokesman said: 'Young drivers drive around 5% of all the miles driven in Britain, but are involved in about 20pc of the crashes where someone is killed or seriously injured.
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'We are committed to improving safety for young drivers and reducing their insurance costs - that is why we are publishing a Green Paper later in the year setting out our proposals. This will include a discussion about how people learn to drive.'
Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: 'Young people are four times more likely to die in a road accident than as a result of drink or drugs. Yet as a society we seem to turn a blind eye to the carnage. If this was any other area of public health there would be an outcry.
'Circumstances conspire against young drivers. Their youth and lack of experience create a deadly mix which means one in five will have an accident within the first six months of passing their test.
'Our own research shows that putting certain restrictions on young drivers allows them to rapidly build up live-saving experience in the safest possible way. Putting a firm number on casualty reduction is hard because of the pick and mix approach to graduate licensing. But the evidence suggests that a full package of measures could reduce fatalities by anything up to 60pc.
'We should all have an interest in preserving young drivers' lives rather than exposing them to undue risk at the stage of their driving careers where they are most vulnerable. This is about ensuring their long term safety and mobility. Not curtailing it.'