Response to TRL young drivers report11 Oct 2013

The Department for Transport has published a report it commissioned from the Transport Research Laboratory to investigate the potential benefits of graduated licensing for young drivers.

The report comes ahead of the anticipated publication later in the year by the government of a green paper on young drivers safety.

While not agreeing with all the proposals from TRL we do support a system of graduated licensing.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Young people are four times more likely to die in a road accident than as a result of drink or drugs. Yet, as a society we seem to turn a blind eye to the carnage. If this was any other area of public health there would be an outcry.

“Circumstances conspire against young drivers. Their youth and lack of experience create a deadly mix which means one in five will have an accident within the first six months of passing their test.

“Our own research shows that putting certain restrictions on young drivers allows them to rapidly build up life-saving experience in the safest possible way. Putting a firm number on casualty reduction is hard because of the pick and mix approach to graduate licensing. But the evidence suggests that a full package of measures could reduce fatalities by anything up to 60%.

“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.”

In July the RAC Foundation published its own younger driver research (and created a factsheet summary) into the value of graduated licensing and made three main recommendations:

  • A one-year minimum learning period during which they would need to have experience of driving in a variety of circumstances: e.g. during the winter, in darkness
  • A one-year post-test period during which there are passenger restrictions and conditions for late-night driving
  • A final full licence with a two year probationary period (which currently exists and during which if a driver receives six penalty points they have to take a retest)



Philip Gomm – Hed of External Communications – 020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448