New drivers should have restrictions in order to save lives says AA

The AA has urged ministers to impose restrictions on new drivers to reduce "needless deaths" on the roads. It proposes that new motorists should be barred from carrying passengers of a similar age for at least six months post-test.

Additionally, the motoring organisation suggests that new drivers should maintain a log demonstrating they have experience on various road types. These proposals are part of a graduated driving licence system, which imposes certain limitations on newly qualified drivers for a predetermined time frame.

Graduated licences are already in effect in countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia and Sweden. In England, the Department for Transport (DfT) had considered adopting these licences, with an announcement made in July 2019. However, the initiative was paused in autumn 2020, with concerns about how it might affect the employment prospects of young people being one of the reasons.

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Edmund King, president of the AA, said: "One of the major issues that needs to be addressed is the needless deaths of young drivers, their passengers and others caught up in these crashes. Each year nearly 5,000 people are killed or seriously injured in crashes involving at least one young driver."

He added that one in five young drivers crash within a year of passing their test. Mr King said: "Most people don't realise, until it is too late, that road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults."

Sharron Huddleston, whose 18 year old daughter Caitlin died as a passenger in a car crash in Cumbria in 2017, has formed Forget-me-not Families Uniting, a campaign group for people who have lost loved ones in road collisions.

She said: "Graduated licences are a crucial issue. How many more young people need to die before action is taken? We can't sit back any longer and just watch as more and more young people are killed or seriously injured in road collisions."

"My daughter Caitlin would be alive today if action had been taken when the concept of graduated licences was floated years ago."

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "While the UK has some of the safest roads in the world, any death is a tragedy which is why we continue working tirelessly to improve road safety for everyone. Our Think! campaign is specifically targeted at young male drivers, and we have commissioned research designed to help learner and newly-qualified drivers improve their skills and safety."

The plea for graduated licences was issued as part of the AA's motoring manifesto ahead of local and mayoral elections in May and a general election on a date still to be announced. The 'Creating Confidence for Drivers' report is advocating for initiatives such as improved transparency in fuel pricing, a reduction in VAT on public electric vehicle charging, the use of technology for more permanent pothole repairs, and the establishment of clear targets to decrease road fatalities.