New drivers under age of 25 could be banned from giving lifts under new government plans to reduce car crashes
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Potential new restrictions, part of a ‘graduated driving licence’ being considered, could see drivers under the age of 25 banned from giving lifts. The possible measure has the approval of Support for Victims of Road Crashes, an advisory committee to the Department for Transport.
The proposal will be considered by Richard Holden, the roads minister, at a meeting on May 16.Under the plans, reported by The Sunday Times, young drivers could be banned from carrying passengers under the age of 25 in the first year or six months after passing the test. Sharron Huddleston is the main advocate for the law change after her daughter, Caitlin, 18, was killed in a car crash in 2017 as a front seat passenger.
The driver, also 18, was her friend, Skye Mitchell, who also died. She had passed her test four months previously. Mrs Huddleston said: “There is nothing I can do to bring Caitlin back but I am determined, in her memory, to ensure that no other family goes through the pain and agony that we go through every day.”
According to Brake, new drivers with passengers of a similar age are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than if they are driving alone. The road safety charity said peer pressure can lead to young drivers showing off.
Between 2014-2020, 590 young drivers and 357 young passengers aged under 25 died on the road, the organisation said.
The government could bring new driving restrictions by amending the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act. This already puts new motorists on probation and they lose their licence if they reach six penalty points in two years.
Edmund King, director of the AA Trust, which has supported Huddleston’s campaign, said: “Young drivers are not just a risk to themselves. In 2021, 926 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes involving at least one young driver. These heartbreaking crashes have profound consequences.
“Limiting young drivers’ rights to carry other young people as passengers for a period of time immediately after passing their test is a pragmatic move that should save lives. As new drivers gain more ‘real life’ experience, their risk of crashing reduces.”
The Department for Transport said: “Every death or serious injury on our roads is a tragedy and we continue to work tirelessly to improve road safety for all users. Our approach to improving safety for new and novice drivers is through new technology and improving education, while reinforcing vital road safety messages through our Think! campaign.”