December 11 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, October 12, 2013
East Anglian motorists and instructors yesterday broadly welcomed proposals that could see teenagers waiting until they are 18 before they can take their driving test.
Nicholas Dasey said: “Driving a car today is different from driving the same car along the same road at the beginning of this week. Many people pass their tests without having driven in rain, wind etc. At the end of this month the clocks go back meaning journeys that may have been made in daylight will now be made in the dark. How many drivers who have passed their tests since April have experienced these conditions?”
Helen Rolfe said: “As we have no public transport in most rural areas of Norfolk and Suffolk, how are young people supposed to get a job or get to further education?”
David Poll said: “I agree with increasing the age, but the curfew is a bit extreme. When I passed, I had a job which I didn’t finish until gone 11pm. What happens in those circumstances? ”
Samantha Moore said: “Sadly we all like to think at 17 or 18 we were responsible but often at that age our heads are elsewhere even with the best intentions. If it works elsewhere
I do not see why it
would not work in this country.”
A government-commissioned report recommended that the driving test age should be raised from 17 to 18 to help improve safety and reduce the number of casualties and serious crashes on Britain’s roads.
The proposals by transport research group TRL suggested young people can start learning to drive at the age of 17, but would have to wait until they were 18 and have at least 100 hours of daytime and 20 hours of nighttime supervised practice before they can take their test.
Having passed the test, they would then get a probationary 12month licence and would have to display a green “P” plate.
Restrictions placed on them would include a night-time driving curfew running from 10pm to 5am, unless accompanied by a passenger over the age of 30, and a ban on carrying passengers under 30 years old for all novice drivers aged under 30.
The report said a ban on any mobile phone use and a lower alcohol limit should be considered for young drivers.
TRL said this graduated driver licensing system could result in annual savings of 4,471 casualties and a saving in cost terms of £224m.
More than 60pc of EDP readers agreed with an online poll yesterday asking if teenagers should wait until they are 18 to take their driving test.
Alan Brazewell, of Chilled Driving Tuition, which is based in Norfolk, north Suffolk and Peterborough, welcomed the proposals, but questioned the restrictions of the probationary licence.
“I think a lot of the proposals are very good. There is a big proportion of 17 to 24-year-olds having a high rate of accidents than other age groups. This has been trialled in other countries and it has been successful in those countries. If it makes the roads a safer place, they are measures that should be taken. The only one I think is a bit odd is having a 30-year-old in the car with a new driver after 10pm.
“They will be much better drivers after 120 hours of driving experience,” he said.
More than one fifth of deaths on Britain’s roads in 2011 involved drivers aged 17 to 24, and around 10pc of novice drivers are caught committing an offence within their probationary period.
The report is being considered by the government which is due to publish a Green Paper later this year.
However, John Mason, of Melton Constable, who retired as a driving instructor two years ago, said he had his reservations.
“I do not see what difference a year is going to make. What they are talking about is changing the thinking of a young person and raising the test age up to 18 is not going to do much. Statistics show that they do not calm down until they are in their 20s,” he said.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We are committed to improving safety for young drivers and reducing their insurance costs.”