Insurers proposals for young drivers
The ABI said all the evidence showed that newly passed young drivers were the riskiest on the road and that special care was needed to avoid them having accidents.
It said an 18-year-old was more than three times as likely as a 48-year-old to be involved in a crash, and that a third of drivers killed in car accidents were under 25. That was despite the fact that the under 25s form only one in eight of all car drivers.
Yet, somewhat contradictory, the ABI are suggesting reforms including allowing youngsters the opportunity to start learning to drive at just 16.
If learning to drive was added to the school curriculum, it would go a long way towards aiding their road safety awareness, but is any government ever likely to introduce such a scheme.
Currently, it seems the education system is very similar to the driver training profession in that it is results centred.
If driving instructors delivered a structured training programme prior to practical training sessions a solid foundation of knowledge and attitude would have already been laid.
It's also suggested people should spend at least a year learning to drive which is typical in many American states.
To drive in Florida legally, you'll be required to have a learner's license for a year, during which you must get at least 50 hours of driving experience, with 10 of those hours being at night.
Setting a minimum amount of training would encourage learning more freely without the pressures of passing in the shortest possible time.
'Intensive Driving Courses' or 'Crash Course' as they are sometimes called is also targeted by the ABI.
Learner drivers see intensive courses as a solution to getting through a driving test quickly, and avoiding some of the difficulties that hourly driving lessons can have.
The Insurers recognise the negative consequences of a condensed course of learning. Intensive courses by their very nature restrict the opportunities necessary to build a thorough comprehension of driving scenarios; indeed the impact for learners means the opportunity to master the basic understanding that supports safe driving is minimised.
Other recommendations would be very difficult to police and may not be entirely practical such as limiting the times youngsters can drive.
Among the reforms insurers want to see are:
- A ban on learners being able to take an intensive driving course as their only method of passing
- But young drivers would be able to start learning earlier, at the age of 16 and a half
- The introduction of a new "graduated" licence for the first six months after passing a test
- During this time the number of young passengers that a newly-qualified driver could carry would be restricted
- They would also be banned from driving between 11:00pm and 4:00am for the first six months, unless they were driving to and from work or college
- There would be no blood alcohol allowed during those first six months
Whilst some of these proposals have merit, perhaps we should be looking to get people safer before they get on the road, rather than restricting them afterwards, because a lot of these proposals are very difficult to police.
Statistics may highlight the consequences of young drivers but these figures should not distract from the need to educate all drivers regardless of experience or age.
A middle aged driver doesn't automatically become a safe responsible driver just because they have held a driving licence for many years.
If we are considering a list of recommendations, perhaps we should add, re testing or a graduated level of vehicles to drive, similar to motor bikes.
Insurance companies should implement blackboxes for all drivers to monitor whether the car is staying within the speed limits, possibly with an opt-out option with an increased premium?
What do you think about the ABI recommendations, are they practical and could they be implemented successfully?
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