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ABI sets out tough loveproposals to cut young driver road accidents and reduce their insurance costs

Young novice drivers should not be allowed to drink any alcohol while driving and be restricted in the hours when they can drive under radical proposals set out today by the ABI to cut the high level of deaths and serious injuries involving young drivers. Young drivers aged under 25 are twice as likely to fail a breathalyser test and more at risk when driving late at night and early in the morning.

One in four people killed or seriously injured in a road crash is a young driver or one of their passengers, yet drivers under age 25 account for only 12% of all driving license holders. Every day 2 people die and 16 people are injured in road crashes involving drivers under 25. Young male drivers are especially at risk, being five times more likely to be involved in a crash than 30-59 year old males.

"Our proposals are not designed to drive young drivers off the road, but to ensure that they become safer drivers. We must act to reduce the tragic loss of young lives on our roads", stressed Nick Starling, ABI's Director of General Insurance and Health.

The ABI wants to see for learner drivers aged under 25:

• A minimum one-year learning period before taking the driving test. A minimum learning period applies in many other countries.
• A ban on taking intensive driving courses where this is the sole means of learning to pass the driving test. This would enable learner drivers to gain experience in a wider variety of road conditions.

For newly-qualified drivers aged under 25:

• All new drivers should hold a graduated driving licence for two years, at the end of which they should be required to pass a second test to ensure that they are safe to drive on all types of roads.
• The graduated driving licence would contain restrictions on the number of passengers that could be carried. This reflects the significantly increased accident risk when other passengers are in the car. It would also include restrictions on driving between 11pm - 4am, albeit with certain exemptions, such as where driving is necessary due to work.

Nick Starling added:

"While recent years may have seen a reduction road accident fatalities and serious injuries the figures are still too high. Every young driver statistic is a tragedy. Whether it is inexperience, youthful bravado or sheer recklessness we need tough action to better equip young drivers to handle the dangers of driving.

"Insurers are actively doing this through the increasing use of in-car ‘black box' technology which encourages responsible driving and ensures that the cost of motor insurance reflects the actual risk. But we need the Government to play its part through an overhaul of how we teach young people to drive.

"Young drivers pay more for their motor insurance because their accident risk is not only high, but because accidents that they are involved often involve very costly claims for personal injuries. So helping them to be safer drivers and reducing their accident rates will mean they will pay less for their motor insurance in the long run."

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Last updated 01/07/2016