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Introduction of Graduated Driving Licences must be accelerated, says IAM RoadSmart

IAM RoadSmart maintains that Graduated Driving Licences must spearhead a comprehensive series of changes to save then lives of young drivers, as another set of disappointing statistics emerge from today’s (25 July) government road casualty announcement.

The Department for Transport says there were 1,782 reported road deaths in 2018; a similar number observed each year since 2012. It adds there were 25,484 serious injuries in road traffic accidents reported to the police in 2018.

In spite of some encouraging trends, IAM RoadSmart maintains that a succession of governments have chosen to brush the issue under the carpet.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “These figures underline the critical need to accelerate delivery of policies such a Graduated Driving Licences. The government road safety statement issued last Friday highlights many of the issues but was very short on actions.”

IAM RoadSmart wishes to see the following:

  • A 12-month minimum learning period with an online learning log for learner drivers to complete prior to taking the practical test. Low speed parking and turning manoeuvres could be assessed as part of this process. There is evidence that around 120 hours of driving experience in mixed conditions would produce safer new drivers but not all of this has to be with a paid-for instructor
  • IAM RoadSmart strongly supports the development of a ‘post’ or ‘second’ phase test as part of a refreshed licensing system. After passing the practical test refresher and eco driving lessons must be taken before full license status is granted. IAM RoadSmart wants to work with stakeholders to develop the best solution using the resources currently available in the UK
  • Alongside these interventions IAM RoadSmart supports some graduated license controls in the first year/six months of driving, for example to limit the number of peer passengers (but no limit on older passengers) and a lower blood alcohol limit

However, the charity welcomes the new inquiry to explore road safety for young and novice drivers announced today.

Young drivers age 17-24 account for 7% of the UK’s driving licence holders, but alarmingly are involved in 20% of fatal and serious collisions.

Written by Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.

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