Change driving test to reduce road deaths, insurers warn
Following the 80th anniversary of the driving test this week, insurers are calling for the test to be modernised in an effort to reduce deaths and injuries on the road.
As part of its Safe Young Drivers Campaign, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is calling for: a one-year minimum learning period (starting from 16 and a half); limits on the number of passengers allowed in the cars of young drivers; and zero-tolerance on alcohol. It would also like to see restrictions for young people driving between 11pm and 4am.
Commenting on the campaign, James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, said: "Car crashes remain the biggest cause of accidental death among young people and more than 20% of all road deaths can be traced back to young drivers.
"Passing your test is only the start of becoming a safe driver. Better driver training would reduce collisions, bring down motor premiums and, most importantly, save hundreds of lives."
Adopting the changes would bring the UK in line with other countries including the USA, Australia and New Zealand, where graduated licensing has been shown to reduce the number of accidents.
In Canada, for example, a study showed that the changes brought about a 31% reduction in crashes among 16-19-year-old drivers, rising to 42% among drivers aged between 20 and 24.
According to the independent motoring charity, the RAC Foundation, in 2013 (the last year for which figures are available) 2,144 passengers were killed or injured in cars that were being driven by teen drivers. It also claims that one in five young drivers will have an accident within six months of passing their test.
Association of British Insurers
Established in 1985, the ABI is the trade body for UK insurance companies. It has more than 400 member companies that provide around 90% of domestic insurance services sold in the UK. The ABI speaks out on issues of common interest and acts as an advocate for high standards of customer service in the insurance industry. The ABI is funded by the subscriptions of member companies.