Young and novice drivers: Department for Transport on ‘L’ plates2 March 2021
The Transport Committee has published its report on young and novice drivers. It welcomes the work underway at the Department for Transport (DfT) as evidence that the Government is committed to tackling safety for drivers aged 17–24. However the Committee’s report recommends dates for the DfT to report progress on these key projects and sets out priorities for further work.
"The tally of young people who lose their lives on our roads is a sobering reason to review the Department for Transport’s work in this area.
"Eighty-eight young car drivers died in 2019; a further 287 people including passengers and pedestrians, were killed in crashes which involved young drivers.
"Fully equipping learner drivers for driving in different situations will be essential to the Department for Transport’s success in this area.
"The Department is exploring different ways to extend the learning experience and we acknowledge the work in progress. We expect to be kept informed.
"We have not recommended Graduated Drivers Licensing be introduced. The Committee balanced the current work of the Department with the lack of evidence demonstrating the impact of GDL on the economic and social prospects of young people at this time, particularly in rural areas.
"The committee also took into account the need for young people to be given the freedom to drive without further restrictions being imposed upon them.
"However, we are asking the Department to resume its research in this area. With GDL likely to be piloted in Northern Ireland, we encourage work with the NI Executive on sharing the learning which emerges.
"Various factors are at play in this debate. Our road vehicles are safer; technology is helping through traffic management tools and telematics devices and the driving test has been improved.
"Fewer young people are choosing to learn how to drive but we must strive to ensure that we keep young and novice drivers safe on our roads."
BackgroundBetween 2005 and 2019 the number of young drivers killed or seriously injured on UK roads reduced by 52 percent.
Figures for fatalities and serious injuries among car drivers aged 17–24 dropped year-on-year until 2012 when progress steadied for several years.
Today young car drivers remain over-represented in the statistics for involvement in fatal road traffic collisions.
In 2019, young drivers made up seven percent of all licence holders but were involved in 16 percent of fatal and serious crashes.
The sad impact of this is felt by their families and all of those involved.