Drivers minimum age could be raised to cut down on accident rates


A recently commissioned government report shows how the country could reduce the number of people involved in road accidents caused by young people by more than 4000 people every year. In the report from TRL, the researchers suggested increasing the minimum age for teenagers taking driving tests. They recommend an age rise to 18, rather than the present 17. These drivers should have at least 12 months of “learner stage” experience that should have started at their 17th birthday.

They can begin training at 17 and they have to acquire 100 driving hours in day-time and at least 20 hours of supervised night-time driving. Once they pass this test, a probationary licence is given. They have to display the green “P” board on their vehicle.

Further, they cannot indulge in night-time driving starting from 10pm – 5am unless a passenger who is at least 30 years old accompanies them. No novice driver less than 30 years of age may carry passengers who are also under 30 years.

According to the report, it was worth considering a ban on the use of cell phones, even if they were hands free. A lower limit for alcohol may prove useful if the drivers are young. Once the 12-month period is over, the driver with a probationary licence would automatically qualify for the regular licence. All restrictions placed would also disappear.

Adopting this kind of licensing system would mean a fall in the causality rate by 4,471 people which equates to a cost savings of £224 million. This figure calculated had basis only for 17-19 year-olds according to the TRL report. If one were to apply these restrictions for all the new drivers, there would certainly be greater reduction in causalities.

Deaths involving drivers in the age group 17-24 constituted one-fifth of all deaths in 2011. About 10% of all novice drivers committed an offence at the time they were on probation. The government is considering this report seriously. The Government will publish a Green Paper n the course of this year