Discussions are being held in parliament about potential plans to minimise so-called peer pressure car crashes by banning newly qualified drivers, under 25 years old, from offering lifts to their friends. The controversial move is aimed at reducing accident statistics by formulating something that will be known as a graduated driving license.
12 Month Probation
In what equates to a 12-month probationary period, drivers who are under 25 years old and newly licensed will not be able to take young passengers. This is because it is felt that peer pressure is one of the leading contributory factors in car accidents where all the occupants are youngsters. It certainly doesn't seem that this move will go down well with the targeted age group, but one in five fatal or serious crashes involves a newly qualified or young driver. Young people make up around 6% of UK drivers, which isn't a huge number, but the amount of accidents they are involved in where fatalities or life-changing injuries occur is disproportionate to this percentage.
It seems that new drivers are facing a lot more scrutiny than ever before. Currently, the legislation in place states that if a new driver receives more than six penalty points on their license in the first two years after qualification, their license will be revoked, and they will have to start again. Any change in legislation is obviously going to cause debate with people on both sides of the fence. Critics have stated that young drivers are responsible for significantly fewer accidents than elderly drivers, and yet there is nothing in place to prevent them from continuing to drive without any further evidence of capability.
However, losing a child to a road accident has led to one parent from Cumbria speaking out. Working with the Support for Victims of Road Crashes group, who do have an advisory capacity with the Department of Transport, she bravely spoke out about the loss of her daughter. Caitlin Huddleston was just 18 years old when she died in a car crash after accepting a lift with other friends from a newly qualified young driver. Her mother, Sharron, has said It has left a huge, gaping hole in our family. Every Christmas, every birthday, it is just devastating. 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.”
May 16th D-Day
A meeting is scheduled for the 16th of May, at which point the amendments will be considered and the roads Minister. Richard Holden will make an official announcement after this point. The Department for Transport says that they are working tirelessly to try and reduce the number of accidents and enhance road safety for everyone. They said, “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.”