The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) is calling for the minimum driving age for all vehicle categories not to be decreased further claiming it would increase the risks to all road users.

The ETSC said the European Commission was coming under pressure from the road transport industry to decrease the recommended minimum age of professional drivers in all sectors to 18, with training allowed from aged 17.

However in a new briefing the ETSC said available data showed that the youngest drivers are more often involved in collisions.

While collisions involving HGVs are fewer in number than those involving cars, they are more deadly due to the size and weight of the vehicles.

The EU is currently reviewing the rules for driver licenses across all vehicle categories, with updated legislation expected to be proposed next year.

The ETSC has gathered data on collision involvement among young drivers in general as well as statistics from countries including Finland, Germany and Poland that already allow 18-year-olds to drive the largest vehicles, under certain conditions.

The organisations claims available data shows clearly that the youngest drivers are more often involved in collisions.  Research has shown this is linked, in part, to the development of the human brain

The ETSC said the lorry driver shortage should be addressed through improvements to working conditions, not by targeting youngsters.