NEWLY-qualified young drivers could be banned from giving their friends a lift, it has been reported.
According to the RAC, ministers are considering plans to stop young people who pass their test from giving lifts to friends in a bid to cut the number of peer-pressure car crashes.
Drivers under the age of 25 could be prevented from having any young passengers in the vehicle as part of a ‘graduated driving licence’, it is claimed.
The plan would see young drivers legally banned from offering lifts in the first 12 months after they gain their licence. It comes amid claims peer pressure is a leading factor in crashes among young drivers.
These drivers make up only 6% of drivers in the UK – but account for one in every five serious or fatal crashes.
Under current legislation, there are no extra rules in place for recently qualified drivers. However, drivers have to pass a probationary period of two years where they are only allowed six points on their licence before having it revoked.
The considerations have not been confirmed, yet critics of the potential changes have stated drivers who are under 25 account for less crashes than those over 85, who remain free of any extra rules.
However, groups such as the Support for Victims of Road Crashes, which acts as an advisor to the Department for Transport (DfT), has backed the plans.
Sharron Huddleston, 52, from Cumbria, whose daughter Caitlin, 18, was killed in a car crash after taking a lift with a friend is a part of the group.
She said: “It has left a huge, gaping hole in our family. Every Christmas, every birthday, it is just devastating.
“There is nothing I can do to bring Caitlin back but I am determined, in her memory, to ensure that no other family goes through the pain and agony that we go through every day.”
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In May 2023, there will be discussions in parliament over the future of the Road Traffic (New Drivers Act).
The DfT said: “Every death or serious injury on our roads is a tragedy and we continue to work tirelessly to improve road safety for all users.
“Our approach to improving safety for new and novice drivers is through new technology and improving education, while reinforcing vital road safety messages through our Think! campaign.”
Roads Minister, Richard Holden, will now consider amendments, and an official announcement is expected after a meeting on May 16.
RAC road safety spokesperson, Simon Williams, said: “We’re very pleased to see that graduated driving licences are once again under consideration more than three and a half years after the Government last said it would look into their merits.
“Young people, and especially young men, continue to be massively over-represented in road collision statistics, so introducing restrictions that are gradually reduced over the first few years of driving may be one of the measures needed to bring the dreadful numbers down.
“It’s important any graduated driver licensing scheme doesn’t disadvantage young people who depend on their cars for work, so a balance needs to be struck between new drivers gaining the mobility they need while keeping them as safe as possible.
“Introducing a minimum learning period, or number of learning hours, should be the very least of what is put in place.
“We believe there could also be merits in restricting the number of people young drivers are allowed to carry at certain times – most importantly at night – as well as putting in place a stricter or even a zero drink-drive limit.
“Mandating ‘new driver’ plates could also help make others aware of who they’re sharing the road with and help make police enforcement easier.
“Technology could also be used beneficially as telematics-based insurance can monitor drivers’ behaviour behind the wheel.
“We look forward to hearing more about any future proposals, ideally alongside the Government’s broader, and much anticipated updated road safety strategy.”