Report: UK could ban young drivers from taking passengers

Learner driver with passenger 2022

Proposed graduated driving licence structure will reportedly be considered on 16 May

Ban on those aged under 25 taking young passengers in their first year of driving to be considered

New drivers aged under 25 could be banned from taking other under-25s as passengers during their first year on the road as part of a new ‘graduated driving licence’ scheme.

The proposed licence structure, first reported by The Times, would prohibit new drivers aged under 25 from carrying passengers also aged under 25 in the first six months or year after passing their test.

The change – reportedly set to be considered by roads minister Richard Holden on 16 May – could be made by amending the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act, legislation that currently puts new drivers on a two-year probationary period with a maximum of six penalty points.

It has been lobbied for by Sharron Huddleston, 52, whose daughter Caitlin, 18, was killed in a 2017 car crash with friend Skye Mitchell, 18, who also died.

In written evidence submitted to Parliament in April 2020, Huddleston proposed a graduated driving licence structure forcing new drivers to display a P-plate; imposing a night-time curfew between 10pm and 5am; the aforementioned ban on carrying passengers also aged under 25; a ban on hands-free mobile use; zero tolerance for alcohol; and restrictions on engine capacity.

A graduated licence structure was previously considered by former prime minister Theresa May’s government but didn’t materialise, due to concerns around night-time driving and young shift workers, such as doctors.

The government instead focused on improving training for young drivers, making it possible for learners to use the motorway (with an approved instructor) for the first time. However, there remains no legal requirement for such tuition to take place before taking a driving test.

Huddleston’s 2020 proposal recommended a minimum-12-month learning period with a logbook system as evidence, proving a driver’s ability to drive in the dark and in poor conditions, such as rain, fog and ice, and their capability on suburban roads and motorways.

The inquest into the deaths of Caitlin and Skye concluded that the collision – in which their car spun into the path of an oncoming van on a wet road – was the result of Skye driving “a little too fast” for the conditions but not speeding. Skye had passed her test four months prior.

Huddleston wrote in 2020: “We as a family cannot change the inaction of past governments, but we cannot let another 20 years pass without some form of progress to protect our future younger generation.

“My daughter Caitlin is a victim of an outdated system that our country has in place, which cuts the lives short of a serious number of young adults and new drivers, whilst destroying and rewriting their families lives on a daily process.“

According to official statistics, people aged 17-29 accounted for 30% of road casualties and 26% of road fatalities in the year ended June 2022. Official estimates suggest the same age group accounted for around 14% of all licence-holders in 2021.

Source: Autocar

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