The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has said that the high number of young drivers with penalty points, and the disproportionate number of young drivers involved in accidents, points to a clear need to make changes and improvements to the way that drivers are taught. Young drivers can be banned from driving if they amass six penalty points in the first two years of driving, but IAM Chief Executive Simon Best says that this is not enough, and the government needs to take action to introduce better quality tuition for youngsters.
Recently released figures show that more than 30,000 young male drivers have up to six penalty points on their licence, while more than 10,000 young female drivers have amassed similar point totals. Speeding and careless driving are among two of the more common offences committed by the younger generation of driver. Although young drivers cover around half the mileage of more experienced drivers, and only account for approximately 8% of all licence holders, they were involved in one fifth of serious accidents.
The penalty points system was altered in 1995, so that new drivers can have their licence revoked if they reach six penalty points within the first two years of passing their practical test. Other drivers face a ban if they accumulate 12 points over a three year period.
Of the figures, Simon Best said that “such high numbers committing a wide range of offences demonstrates the inability of our current system to deal with the attitudes and lack of experience which put new drivers at such high risk on the roads today.” He went on to say that the government should use the new Green Paper to introduce beneficial changes.
A number of potential changes have been touted to help improve safety levels for young drivers. Only being allowed a single passenger in the car and not being allowed to drive at night are some of these changes. Additional motorway and hazardous condition tuition may also be introduced to the practical test to help ensure that drivers are trained in any potential aspect of driving that they are likely to encounter.