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New drivers could be banned from travelling at night as part of plans to improve road safety.

Plans for a graduated licence system to restrict novice drivers in England, Scotland and Wales were announced by the Department for Transport (DfT).

The move comes as figures suggest one in five drivers are involved in a crash within a year of passing their test.

But the AA warned “excessive” safety measures could become an “unnecessary burden” for motorists.

As well as not driving at night, the DfT said the system could feature restrictions such as a minimum learning period and not driving with passengers under a certain age.

The DfT did not say how long the measures would be in place after someone had passed their driving test.

Road safety minister Michael Ellis said getting a driving licence could be both “exciting” and “daunting” for young people.

He said graduated driver licensing could “help new drivers to stay safe and reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads”.

The DfT is considering how the system could work, as part of its Road Safety Action Plan, which will be published on Friday.

A spokeswoman said research as to how the scheme would work in practice and further details will be available until 2020.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said ministers supported introducing a graduated licensing scheme, but representations to consider

devolving power to Holyrood to enable this have been rejected.

Plans in Northern Ireland to launch a graduate licensing pilot scheme have been put on hold due to the absence of government.

Graduated licensing schemes already operate in several parts of the world, including New York and California in the US, Ontario and British Columbia in Canada, New South Wales and Victoria in Australia, and across Sweden.

They have previously been rejected in Britain over concerns they would restrict young people from accessing education and employment

Under current rules, new drivers risk having their licences revoked if they accumulate six penalty points within the first two years of passing the test.

But there are no restrictions on when people can drive or the age of their passengers.

oshua Harris, director of campaigns for road safety charity Brake, said those particularly at risk were “overconfident” newly-qualified young male drivers.

Mr Harris said a more “robust” licensing process could help to keep these drivers safe.

While the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) also welcomed the trial, the AA warned any such scheme should be “properly researched and piloted” to avoid creating an “unnecessary burden”.

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Source: BBC News 2019

 

Plans for instructors to take ‘competent’ trainees on UK’s fastest roads in dual-controlled cars backed by road safety groups

HA0523 - Motorbike on the network. This set of images illustrates bikers driving on motorways and A roads in a safe manner.

Learner drivers will be allowed to practise on motorways for the first time under government plans to improve road safety.

Under current rules, drivers are permitted on motorways only after they have passed their test, though there is no mandatory training for the 70mph roads.

The transport minister, Andrew Jones, announced the plans on Friday, which would allow approved instructors to take “competent” trainees on motorways in dual-controlled cars.

The RAC director, Steve Gooding, and Neil Greig, policy director at the IAM RoadSmart charity, backed the proposal.

Gooding said: “The casualty statistics tell us that motorways are our safest roads, but they can feel anything but safe to a newly qualified driver heading down the slip road for the first time to join a fast-moving, often heavy, flow of traffic.

“Many are so intimidated by the motorway environment that they choose instead to use statistically more dangerous roads, so we welcome this move, which will help new drivers get the training they need to use motorways safely.”

Greig said it was a “sensible and measured solution”, adding: “It makes no sense that new drivers learn by trial and, often fatal, error how to use our fastest and most important roads.”

Under the proposals, motorcyclists would take a theory test as part of the compulsory basic training (CBT) course, which allows bikes and mopeds to be ridden unaccompanied. CBT certificates would be revoked if the motorist gets six penalty points.

Jones said: “These changes will equip learners with a wider range of experience and greater skillset which will improve safety levels on our roads.”

Reports had said the government was considering making learner drivers complete 120 hours of training before taking their tests, but the Department for Transport said there were no current plans for such a measure.

A spokeswoman said: “We have commissioned a £2m research programme that will look at ways we can reduce the number of accidents involving new and inexperienced drivers, and this will look at a range of measures.”

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Driving lessons, the test itself, buying and insuring a car all add to the expense, but there are ways to limit the damage

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Passing your driving test has long been seen as a rite of passage, but the rising cost of running a car is driving more and more young people off the roads. The Department for Transport’s recent National Travel Survey shows a sharp drop over the past 18 years in the number of young people holding a full driving licence. While in 1995, some 43% of 17- to 20-year-olds held a full driving licence, that has plunged to just 31%. The fall is sharpest among young men, where it has dropped from 51% to 30%, while the percentage of young women with a full driving licence has slipped from 36% to 31%. Over the same period the proportion of 21- to 29-year-olds with full driving licences has also fallen.

The main reason fewer young people are driving is cost, says Stephen Glaister, director at the RAC Foundation. “Younger people were hit disproportionately hard by the downturn. Even though employment is now rising, incomes are stagnant, and many are only in part-time work, and find running a car too expensive.”

Spiralling student debt and rising housing costs leave little money for driving lessons, at around £25 an hour, and the test itself. With the practical test costing up to £75, and the theory test adding another £31, the cost of buying a car is the least of the problems facing young drivers. In 1995 a five-year-old Ford Fiesta, a typical first car, cost £3,250, against £5,510 today, according to figures from motoring guide Glass’s. That is a rise of nearly 70%, almost exactly in line with the increase in average earnings over the period, says Andrew Jackson, head of analytics at Glass’s. “In real terms, the Fiesta isn’t any more expensive than it was in 1995, even though the materials, technology and manufacturing quality are incomparably better.”

Other motoring costs have accelerated sharply, according to the RAC Foundation’s UK Cost of Motoring Index. While the cost of living has risen 76% since 1995, as measured by the retail price index, the cost of maintaining a car has risen 140%, while petrol and oil costs have increased 145%. Meanwhile the cost of tax and insurance has soared by 170% since 1995, well over twice the rate of inflation. The average 17-year-old now pays a hefty £1,997 a year for motor insurance, according to figures from Towers Watson and comparison site Confused.com.

Here are some ways to make getting behind the wheel more affordable.

• Buy a small car

As a general rule, the less powerful your car is the less it is likely to cost to insure, says Lee Griffin, car insurance expert at GoCompare.com. “Young or inexperienced drivers should therefore look at cars with smaller engines as opposed to performance vehicles. But this isn’t the only factor they take into account. They will also look at its value, engine size, power-to-weight ratio, and availability of parts. These factors determine which insurance group the car will be in, and how much it will cost to insure.”

• Shop around

One in three car insurers wouldn’t cover a 17-year-old driver at all, while 10% wouldn’t cover anybody under 25, according to GoCompare.com. “All insurers rate drivers differently, and while some target older, more experienced drivers, others will price competitively for younger drivers, so shop around to make sure you’re getting the right cover at the best possible price.”

An online search for an 18-year-old motorist covering an eight-year-old Ford Fiesta Freedom with a 1.3 litre engine, with 10,000 annual mileage and a £250 excess, showed the cheapest premium at £2,917 a year from Carrot Car Insurance, a telematics-based insurer that targets younger drivers. Next was Hastings Essential, which quoted £4,129 a year. Insure Pink, 1st Central and Go Girl offered quotes ranging from £4,634 to £5,000 a year. Some insurers charged up to £9,000, while many didn’t quote at all.

• Get better qualified

You may be able to get a slightly lower premium if you have taken advanced driving courses such as Pass Plus or the advanced driving test from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). If that 18-year-old had Pass Plus, for example, Hastings Direct would cover them for £2,240, but the next best quote was from Insure Pink at £4,147.

• Secure your vehicle

Fitting your car with an approved alarm, immobiliser and tracking device can make life harder for thieves, reducing the chance that you will make a claim for theft. “It helps if you can park off-road overnight, preferably in a locked garage or at least on a driveway, as your insurer may reduce your premiums accordingly,” says Kevin Pratt, car insurance expert at MoneySupermarket.com.

• Add an older driver to your policy

Adding an older, “safer” driver, such as a parent or relative, will cut the cost of your insurance policy, Pratt says. “You must list the person who drives the car most as the main driver, otherwise you may be accused of ‘fronting’. This is treated as insurance fraud and will lead to a minimum £300 fine plus six points on your licence. It will almost certainly cost more to get insurance in the future, if you can get it at all.”

• Try telematics (Blackbox)

Telematics technology can also help young motorists drive down their premiums. This involves fitting a gadget in your car that measures your speed, cornering, acceleration and braking, as well as your location and the time of day you drive. If the black box judges you to be a safe driver, your insurer should reward you with a lower premium. If you’re taking risks, however, your premium could increase.

A 17-year-old student living in Cardiff driving a two-year-old Ford Fiesta, with no claims or convictions, annual 7,000 mileage and a £250 excess, would typically pay £2,124 a year for standard insurance, but this would fall to £1,783 with Telematics, according to figures from Confused.com. That’s a saving of £341, or 16%. A 20-year-old with three-years’ no-claims bonus would typically see their premium fall from £780 to £601.

• Drive safely

If you’re a young driver with points on your licence or a recent insurance claim to your name, you’re in double trouble, says Pratt. “Driving with care is the name of the game. Points on a licence can easily add 10% to your insurance costs, so avoid speeding and other convictions.” Young drivers should avoid making insurance claims, so they can steadily build up a no-claims discount – this can knock up to 75% off the cost of cover after five years.

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It’s often imagined that young drivers have too much confidence and rush to complete their driver training in their eagerness to get on the roads.

However, a recent survey, taken from a sample of 2,000 drivers between the ages of 18 and 30, paints a different picture, with 62% of young drivers in favour of a minimum learning period.

Statistics show that many young drivers feel unequipped to drive safely and competently after passing their test, and many will go out of their way to avoid driving situations where they lack confidence.

Young Driver Survey Data

The report gives a unique insight into the opinions of Britain’s young drivers and shows that many of them feel totally unprepared for driving after passing their test. Yet young drivers themselves are rarely consulted about their driving experiences.

Although the driving test has been improved to better reflect real-life conditions on the roads, almost half of newly qualified drivers (48%) felt unprepared for motorway driving and around one in three (29%) were nervous about night-time driving and driving alone after passing their test.

Situations that young drivers admitting avoiding included motorway driving, driving in city centres and turning right at busy junctions.

In the survey, published in August 2013, one in four drivers who had had an accident believed that it might have been avoided if they had spent longer learning to drive. Despite this, amongst the young people consulted in the survey, one in five took less than three months to pass their driving test and 50% took less than six months to pass.

Written by: Janet Fisher

Dagenham

 

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