More than a third (38 per cent) of UK motorists think learner drivers should have a compulsory extended learning period, according to new research.
An independent survey undertaken by Young Driver with 1,000 British motorists asked drivers how they thought the safety of young people on the road could best be improved. Currently one in five drivers has an accident within six months of passing their test and in 2019 there were 26,988 casualties on Britain’s roads in the 17-24 age group.
The UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, Young Driver, asked motorists what factors they felt would have the most impact on reducing the number of casualties, without limiting educational or employment opportunities for teens. One in four (27 per cent) wanted the introduction of a more difficult driving test. A third (35 per cent) felt a graduated licence could prove successful, although this appears to have been rejected as a concept by the government, and 30 per cent said a black box should be compulsory.
One in three (32 per cent) thought introducing learning to drive and road safety from a driver’s perspective at school would be beneficial. Others felt certain elements of restriction could prove of use – one in five (20 per cent) agreed with a curfew on night driving and a similar number, 21 per cent, thought limiting the number or type of passengers could be effective. Non-parents were much more likely to agree with restrictive measures – such as curfews and graduated licences – with parents perhaps fearing the repercussions on opportunities or practicalities for their children.
IE Comment: For many years now motorcyclists have faced a graduated licence system, power retrictions on A2 class bikes, plus riders aged under 25 have found it very expensive to insure their machines. A similar system for cars may help, although many of the fatalities in the under 25 age group involve racing mates, uninsured driving, Police chases and other illegal activity. The problems regarding serious road accidents are complex, variable and can’t be solved by blanket bans – much as that plays to the popular pundit gallery. Draconian laws mean that the law-abiding majority may well feel that compliance is pointless if they see the illegal minority getting away with paltry fines and the occasional £1200 Corsa seizure as the worst punishment.
One in four (26 per cent) wanted there to be safe and controlled ways for youngsters to start getting to grips with driving skills and to start embedding important safety messages before 17. The idea was particularly popular with 18 to 24-year olds (35 per cent) and over 65s (37 per cent).
Other ideas put forward by those surveyed included compulsory green plates for the first year after passing the test, reducing the size of vehicle engine for new drivers and banning/disabling the use of technology in any car driven by a new driver.
Young Driver has delivered over 900,000 driving lessons to 10 to 17-year olds at 70 private venues across the UK. Lessons are given in brand new, dual controlled Vauxhall Corsa SE Premiums with a fully qualified instructor. Youngsters learn how to steer, change gear, reverse and park on a specially created road system including roundabouts, junctions and traffic lights. The focus of lessons is on learning how to be a safe driver in a fun and engaging way.
Sue Waterfield, head of marketing at Young Driver, said: “Most drivers are in agreement that something needs to be done to tackle the shockingly high accident rate for our new drivers. Parents were less in favour of restrictions which might prove limiting for teenagers in terms of getting to employment or travelling home safely on an evening – and that’s particularly important given the knock on impact Covid-19 is likely to have.
“We’ve always felt education was the key – making sure our young people have plenty of time and opportunity to really get to grips with the skills and attitude they need to be a safe driver, rather than just restricting what they can do. Twenty-nine per cent of respondents to the survey felt the age of learning to drive should be increased. But teens are always going to want to pass their test as quickly as possible once they’re able, whatever that age is, so it makes sense to allow them to start safely building and practicing the necessary skills from a much earlier age.”
To find out more about Young Driver visit www.youngdriver.com.