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Are 17 year olds too young to drive? Personal Injury Solicitor asks

A report prepared by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) for the Department of Transport (DfT) indicates that nearly a quarter of road accidents in 2012 in Britain involving death or Serious Injury involved a young driver under the age of 24. According to the report 17 to 23 years olds are roughly four times more likely to be involved in a serious accident than older drivers.

The Transport Secretary, Patrick Mcloughlin, is to consider a serious of proposals outlined in the report which include:

-raising the age that young people can take a driving test from 17 to 18
-the age that a full licence can be obtained be raised to 19
-all motorists aged under 30 be banned from giving their friends lifts or driving at night for 12 months after they pass their test
-the introduction of 120 hours of supervised driving practise, including 20 at night then the novice motorist would be on probation and carry a green P plate   
 -some proposals would apply to all age groups 12 months after passing their test including a ban on night time driving, use of a hands free mobile and a lower drink-drive limit.

Dr Shaun Helman, one of the reports author`s said that the “reasoning behind this is that evidence shows that both youth and inexperience are the factors in determining crash risk”.

It is estimated that these measures would cut casualties by 4,471 including up to 41 fatalities a year.
The evidence that young inexperienced drivers are much more likely to be involved in a serious collision is over whelming. 18% of drivers who were aged between 17 & 19 years when they passed their test were involved in a crash in their first year of driving. The older drivers who passed their test aged over 25 were 12% likely to be involved in a crash (still a high statistic and calls into question if our driving test is vigorous enough).

A 2001 DfT report indicates that young drivers, especially young male drivers, are more likely to seek thrill from driving, are more fearless and more compliant with peer pressure.

A phased introduction to driving would in my opinion, based upon 25 year’s experience of acting for Road Traffic Accident victims as a Personal Injury Solicitor, substantially reduce the number of casualties on our roads. I would urge the Transport Secretary to urgently implement TRL`s proposals.

Britain’s road network is heavily congested with vehicles. Driving in this country is much more demanding in comparison with the USA, Australia or New Zealand yet these countries take road safety much more seriously than Britain. In Australia speeding fines are much heavier than in Britain, in New Zealand graduated driving licenses were introduced in 1987 and this concept is gradually be introduced to several states in the USA.