Suffolk: Calls for newly-qualified drivers to face licence restrictions as teenagers involved in one in eight injury-related crashes

A five-year study found 13.5% of collisions in the county which resulted in a death, or either a serious or minor injury, involved a driver aged between 17 and 19. A five-year study found 13.5% of collisions in the county which resulted in a death, or either a serious or minor injury, involved a driver aged between 17 and 19.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
10:32 AM

Calls have been made for newly-qualified drivers to face temporary restrictions after research found one in eight injury-related crashes in Suffolk involved teenagers.

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A five-year study found 13.5% of collisions in the county which resulted in a death, or either a serious or minor injury, involved a driver aged between 17 and 19.

Nationally, the age group makes up 1.5% of licensed drivers.

It led to calls for the Government to introduce a graduated driving licensing (GDL) system, as well as a minimum one-year learner period and a lower alcohol limit for new drivers.

GDL schemes place temporary restrictions on newly-qualified young drivers to limit their exposure to risk until they have gained enough experience.

Restrictions can include them being banned from driving on motorways and owning powerful cars, undertaking at least 10 hours of further training on motorways and at night, and having to pass a second practical test after two years.

Other suggestions include a limit on the number of young passengers they can carry and a late-night curfew. Road safety should be a compulsory part of the national curriculum in schools, campaigners say.

The three-phase GDL system – learner’s permit, restricted licence and full-driver’s licence – is not enforced in Europe, but has, in various forms, been introduced in the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Between 2008 and 2012, Suffolk (13.5%) had a higher rate of injury-related collisions involving teenage drivers than the UK (11.9%), according to the research by the Transport Research Laboratory for the charity RAC Foundation.

The numbers behind the percentages were not released, but the report said if GDL was introduced, every year in Suffolk there would be 63 fewer incidents of teenagers injuring another motorist, and five fewer deaths or serious injuries, saving an annual £2.5million.

In Essex, teenagers were involved in 13.8% of injury-related collisions. GDL could cut the number injury-related crashes by 136 every year, and deaths or serious injuries by 16, saving £7.1m. Researchers used police accident data.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said young drivers pose a “significant and disproportionate risk” to themselves and other motorists, particularly in rural areas.

“The government has repeatedly delayed announcing its strategy to help reduce young driver accidents, but here is more evidence showing graduated licensing can significantly cut death and injury,” he added.

“We should all have an interest in preserving young drivers’ lives rather than exposing them to undue risk at the stage of their driving careers where they are most vulnerable.

“This is about ensuring their long-term safety and mobility, not curtailing it.”

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said officers experience a “greater number” of crashes on the county’s roads which involve young drivers.

“They, like any inexperienced driver, are not as aware of all the dangers on the roads,” he said.

“Although they reach a level of competence to pass their driving test, it is another step to be driving alone or with distractions such as friends in the car with them.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “These figures show the continual need to promote road safety to young people. We continue to work with Suffolk police and the Fire and Rescue on Suffolk Roadsafe initiatives promoting good practice and strategies for improving their safety.

“Our work with schools, colleges and universities make sure these messages get to young people. These include initiatives such as Get in Gear, a course specifically aimed at 17 to 19-year-olds (and) newly qualified drivers to give them the skills to cope with driving independently and to reduce the chances of being involved in a collision.”

11 comments

  • The idea with the motor bike's is very good ,This should be applied to young car driver's too , only make it 25 years of age . also restrict them from driving on motorways until they have held a licence for 2 years , Last of all make it law that when you reach the age of 70 years old you have to retake the driving test ,,, but we all know that wont happen cos the government would be taking money out of the economy ( By the way , I'm 67 years old ??)

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    MIGUEL100

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • I do question how some of the kids these days pass the test. Though let's not blame them all. There are far too many aged drivers around in this longer living society, they should most definitely have re-tests at least annually. We have the crazy fiesta lady here in Woodbridge who has caused countless near misses due to failure to observe. Don't know her name she is just called the doctors wife!

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    Lee Davies

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • So the figures in Suffolk above national average means Suffolk is going to get its own driving licensing system? Don't make me laugh. ************ The inexperience amongst young drivers are going to be a cause of bad driving, however, most drivers these days appear to be appalling - young, middle aged and old. The survey didn't determine whether the young drivers were to blame, which is somewhat significant. What is more significant is figures are only really relevant for death and serious injury... including "minor injury" cases - which we can assume is the majority - just increases the figures to persuade the new system to be implemented. ************ We can all agree that five fewer deaths or serious injuries per year is a good thing, but I somewhat feel this is just a small percentage of overall deaths and serious injuries on Suffolk roads... ************ Statistics needs proper processing with common sense... 1.5% of licensed drivers being involved in 11.9% (nationally) of collisions seems worrying, its over 7 times the proportionate amount should be, excepts its not, its never going to be an percentage equal. Unlicensed drivers are probably a bigger problem ************ Making it more difficult to drive only increases the likelihood of drivers without a licence (i.e. passed no test, likely incompetent)... which will increase incidents. It also does nothing to prevent the other 88% of incidents occurring. ************ I think the age needs to be raised to 18. The lower alcohol limit seems stupid. Banning them from driving their mates around etc. is just too much power from the state. The police knows where the irresponsible young drivers go but they choose to avoid it. No need to punish the young so once the responsible ones get their independence of their own car and rely less on mum and dad, ... they have to end up getting a lift as they aren't able to drive between 8pm and 8am, not allowed on motorwaysA roads (safer than country roads) and can't carry passengers under 20 years old?

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Funny that.....one out of eight accidents caused by a young driver. Does that mean that the other seven are caused by older drivers?

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    G Rumpy

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Car insurance companies can no longer discriminate against men by offering cheaper policies to women. So I cannot see teen only newly qualified driver restrictions being enforceable. Would have to be all newly qualified drivers or none.

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    K Mcc

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Not sure why it is thought stopping them driving on motorways helps. After all, they are the safest and easiest roads to drive on. Maybe ban them from country lanes.

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    Mike Rotch

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • If UKIP get in their manifesto includes everyone re-taking the driving test every 5years! The bottom line is accidents happen. Yoyng people learn fast and in my opinion they arent the greatest risk. This is another example if socialism, trying to control everything we do.

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    Rory Breaker

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Young drivers have the skill to drive independently otherwise they wouldn't have passed their driving test. What they lack is experience that can only be gained from driving. The big problem and probably why certain young people have involved in accidents is their attitude and parents are much to blame for this. If the parents' attitude is bad then so will their children. Bad drivers come in all ages and most are men so are we to place restrictions on all male drivers? It's a strange world when we tell youngsters they are grown up enough to vote and die for our country but not mature enough to be trusted to drive. Stop with the nannying. If you have a new driver in your family then talk to them about the dangers and make sure you are setting a good example.

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    Driven Roundabend

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • That should read 23 or 24 - stupid website doesn't like slashes.

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    DaveHedgehog

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • Perhaps they should bring in a "minimum" value to the purchase of a first vehicle - stop the little twerps buy a 500 quid banger, putting a loud exhaust on it then racing i round the Double-D circuit?! Joking apart, they already do a tiered licencing system for motorbikes, I can't understand why the same isn't done for cars - even if you pass the "fullest" test, you are still limited to what you can ride until 2324

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    DaveHedgehog

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  • These figures are only for reported accidents. It does not include those single vehicle accidents, cars in the ditch and gone through hedges etc which are often caused by "too much right foot". I do like the idea of a second practical test after two years - for all ages - I think a lot of people would struggle after developing bad habits.

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    The original Victor Meldrew

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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