Novice drivers may be limited to ferrying around relatives or going it alone under plans being considered by the transport ministry to cut road accidents.
An 18-year-old driver is more than three times as likely to be involved in a crash than a driver aged 48, according to statistics from the Association of British Insurers. One in eight UK drivers are 25 or older but one in three who die on the road are under age 25.
“When I talk to young people who have recently passed their test what they say sometimes there is peer pressure is put on them to go fast, to show off,” Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said in an interview with The Telegraph newspaper.
The government’s plan may include restricting young drivers to ferrying around relatives for six or nine months after they have passed their test. The government is also considering banning novices from carrying passengers at all.
“They are not anticipating an accident, but something goes wrong. They are not drivers with a huge amount of experience by the very fact of their being new drivers. I think we have got to look at that.”
Mr McLoughlin’s remarks come after Naimo Jones, 19, was jailed earlier this week for six months after killing her best friend in a car crash in Blackpool. Ms Jones apparently lost control when showing off, the court heard.
“I read regular reports where three or four young people have been killed in a car, and it’s a new driver, and you wonder what happened,” Mr McLoughlin told the newspaper,
“When I talk to young people who have recently passed their test, what they say sometimes is that peer pressure is put on them to go fast, to show off,” he said.
A YouGov survey to be released next week by the Association of British Insurers shows significant public support for curbs on new drivers. About 71 per cent of Britons would support a limit on the number of young passengers that newly qualified young drivers are allowed to carry.
Accidents certainly are not limited to young drivers, however. A mother of three was jailed for nine months in 2011 for driving 60 miles an hour late at night along the M5 in Somerset, carrying out a U-turn, dodging oncoming traffic and causing terror in members of the public.
Some road safety groups have lobbied the government to adopt a graduated licence, effectively imposing additional restrictions on newly licenced drivers. Northern Ireland drivers must carry an R-plate and cannot drive faster than 45 mph for the first year after they are licenced, for example.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists called on the government to adopt a “more positive approach that encourages new drivers to gain experience rather than denying them the opportunity to do so.
A spokesman said: “The first thing the government must do is revise the driving test to include rural roads where most young drivers die or are injured.”