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New drivers could face night-time curfew

New drivers could face night-time curfew

Newly-qualified drivers could face a night-time driving curfew and a cap on the number of passengers allowed in their cars under proposals being considered by ministers. However, learners could also be allowed to drive on motorways and given lessons during bad weather or in darkness to help them reduce risks after they pass their tests. It is part of a Government effort to prevent accidents and reduce rapidly rising insurance premiums.

A fifth of road accidents resulting in death or serious injury involve drivers under the age of 24 and the average annual insurance premium for a 17 to 18 year-old motorist is more than £1,800. Insurance bosses and transport ministers held talks this week on how to improve safety, with a full government paper on possible future legislation to be published later this year.

Under the proposals:

  • There would be a minimum learning period before candidates are permitted to sit their test
  • Drivers would be allowed to take lessons on motorways, and possibly during bad weather conditions or during darkness
  • The existing probationary period would be increase from two to three years for a new driver’s licence to be revoked if they receive six penalty points or more
  • The driving test would be made “more rigorous” to better prepare learners to drive unsupervised
  • Young drivers would be offered incentives to take up additional training after passing their test.

At the meeting, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) suggested young drivers could be put under a night-time driving curfew for an initial period after passing their test. Other ideas discussed were limiting the number of passengers young motorists can carry in their car, a one-year minimum learning period for new drivers and a zero blood alcohol driving limit for an initial period.

“It is alarming that a fifth of people killed or seriously injured on our roads in 2011 were involved in a collision where at least one driver was aged 17 to 24,” said Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary.

“Improving the safety of our young drivers is therefore a real priority and will not only reduce casualties but should also mean a reduction in the sky-high insurance premiums they pay.”

The ABI said that if the Government chose to adopt its proposals, lives would be saved and the cost of car insurance for young drivers could be reduced by as much as 20%.

“Sadly young newly qualified drivers are at a much higher risk of having a serious crash on our roads which is reflected in the cost of their car insurance,” said the ABI’s director general Otto Thoresen.

“Insurers want to see young drivers become safe drivers which in turn will result in more affordable premiums.”

Caroline Dunne, Consultant in IBB’s Road Traffic Offences team, said:

“The spotlight has fallen once more on young licence holders under current proposals put forward by the Government. It has long been a cause of concern that a vast number of accidents on our roads are caused by drivers who are under the age of 24. As a natural consequence insurance premiums are at an all-time high, with campaigners urging the Government to do more with inexperienced drivers.

“One of the proposals is that a cap is placed on the number of passengers allowed in a car driven by a young driver. Other suggestions are that a temporary curfew is placed on the use of cars operated by young drivers so that the risk posed to other road users is significantly reduced.

“Whilst there may be a backlash from those directly affected, the majority of road users will breathe a sigh of relief once this ‘menace’ is tackled.”

IBB’s experienced Road Traffic Offences solicitors can provide advice and representation if you or your children are charged with a road traffic offence. Email enquiries@ibblaw.co.uk or call 08456 381 381 for further advice.