Transport Committee Sessional Press Notices 2006-07



“The carnage of novice drivers must end”

A third of road deaths in Great Britain involve a car driven by someone aged 17-25 years. In 2005, 1,077 people were killed in such collisions. Almost a third of these deaths were the young drivers themselves. Although just one in eight licence holders is aged under 25, a third of drivers killed in road collisions is under 25. This rises to a half of all drivers killed at night. For several years the UK has been an international leader in terms of road casualty reduction. But one group of road users has not benefited from these casualty reduction efforts. That group is young and novice drivers, who are vastly over-represented in the crash statistics. The risks faced and posed by novice drivers are unacceptable. This was the conclusion of the House of Commons Transport Committee’s report, Novice Drivers, published today.

Changes have been made to the driving test over the past decade or so, but they have failed to make any impact on reducing novice driver casualties.

Chairman, Gwyneth Dunwoody MP said: “Bold measures are required to reduce the number of people killed and injured in crashes involving young drivers. Novice drivers are extremely vulnerable and pose considerable risks to their passengers and other road users. Our Report recommends a wholesale reform of the driver licensing regulations. Anything less will not address the reality of the risks.”

The report recommends a series of changes to the driver training and testing regime including:

•    a 12-month minimum learning period for all learner drivers, raising the age of solo driving to 18 years in line with most of Europe;

•    a structured syllabus undertaken and examined by an Approved Driving Instructor; and

•    hazard perception training;

It recommends the the test must be taken in a dual-control vehicle and extended to include driving on motorways if necessary.

Further measures should be introduced for newly-qualified drivers. For the first 12-months post test, the Committee recommends

•    a zero alcohol limit

•    prohibition on carrying any passengers aged 10-20 years between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Chairman, Gwyneth Dunwoody MP said: “We cannot continue to waste young lives. The implementation of the measures in this report would go a long way to improve the safety of young and novice drivers, and other road users. The Government and the police must ensure that no one can ignore the licensing system and drive illegally. There may be in excess of a million people driving without a valid licence. Enforcing existing traffic law must be a top priority.”

Notes to Editors

The Transport Committee’s 7th Report of the 2006-07 Session, Novice Drivers (HC 355), will be published on Thursday 19 July at 00.01 hrs. Media representatives who would like to receive a PDF copy of the report should contact Select Committee Media Officer Laura Kibby on 020 7219 0718 or 07917 488 557.

Press Notice 43/2006-07                                     18 July 2007