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Ban new drivers from taking passengers

The road safety charity ‘Brake’ have released statistics which suggest that one in four new drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 have an accident within the first two years of passing their driving test. This is just one of the reasons why car insurance premiums tend to be higher for younger drivers. In order to fight this trend, it has been suggested in some quarters that young and inexperienced drivers should be prevented from carrying passengers, as the distraction of passengers can prove to be a serious hazard.
Peer Pressure
Cheshire Safer Roads Partnership has also released research which states that young newly qualified drivers who are giving a lift to a car full of their peers are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than if they were driving alone. Such odds are only increased if the new driver is the first in their group of peers to pass their test or if they are the designated driver for a group of drunken rowdy friends.
Changes in Northern Ireland
This research is already being acted upon in Northern Ireland where a new package of driving rules and restrictions, in the form of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, was passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly in January 2019. This legislation includes a six-month passenger restriction for new drivers under the age of 24, which prevents them from carrying more than one passenger, aged between 14 and 20, between 11pm and 6am.
There are to be certain exceptions to this restriction in an emergency or where the passengers are family members; although it remains to be seen how Police will determine what is and is not an emergency situation.
Safe Drivers’ Campaign
With the recent changes in Northern Ireland, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is now calling for similar changes to be brought into effect throughout the rest of the UK. However, it is also calling for legislation in the rest of the UK to make changes to the driving test requirements by imposing a minimum one-year ‘learning period’. According to the ABI, such changes would essentially introduce a ‘graduated driver license scheme’, similar to those already in place in Canada, the USA and New Zealand. A Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) scheme enables new drivers to build up their skills and experience in stages. The scheme has the support of various motoring groups. This would of course have far reaching consequences for Driving Instructors such as those who work for My Four Wheels Driving School, with even greater demand for lessons over a longer period of time before a student driver can fully passed their driving test.
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