On the 80th anniversary of the UK driving test, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is urging the Government to start the long overdue process of modernising the way young people learn to drive to bring the UK in line with other major nations like the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Since the driving test became compulsory on June 1 1935 it has evolved to recognise the end of hand signals, the arrival of automatic gear boxes and to include a separate written theory test. The ABI says the time has now come to introduce a compulsory learning period and additional restrictions for new, young drivers in an effort to cut deaths and injuries on the road.
James Dalton, the ABI’s Director of General Insurance Policy, said: “Car crashes remain the biggest cause of accidental death among young people, and more than 20 per cent of all road deaths can be traced back to young drivers. Evidence from overseas indicates these numbers could be drastically improved with the introduction of graduated driving licences.
“Passing your driving test is only the start of becoming a safe driver. We want to see a minimum one year learning period for under 25s and then an initial period of six months when there would be limits on the number of passengers which could be carried. Better driver training would reduce collisions, bring down motor premiums and, most importantly, save hundreds of lives.”
The ABI’s Safe Young Drivers Campaign is calling for:
- A one-year minimum learning period, starting from 16 and a half
- Limits on the number of passengers allowed in a car with a new young driver
- Zero tolerance on alcohol
- Limits on young people driving overnight, eg between 11.00pm and 4.00am