Lancashire TelegraphWasted Lives: It’s not too late to change course (From Lancashire Telegraph)

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Wasted Lives: It’s not too late to change course

THE Government has been told it is not too late to make a radical overhaul of the way young people learn to drive.

A leading road safety charity and an insurance company have called on ministers to introduce a graduated licence scheme when new measures are officially unveiled soon.

And a new survey completed by the Brake charity shows that 87 per cent of motorists want restrictions on new motorists.

Calls for graduated licences and some restrictions on drivers after they have passed their test have been led by the Lancashire Telegraph’s Wasted Lives campaign which has been backed by MPs, charities and the influential transport select committee.

Earlier this year we revealed that Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick had turned his back on the implementation of a graduated licence scheme which would allow drivers to build up their skills and experience gradually.

A cursory new “syllabus” for driver training will instead be formally announced in October.

Road safety charity Brake said restrictions should be imposed until a driver is at least 20-years-old And the charity’s deputy chief executive Cathy Keeler said the Government must take heed of pub-lic opinion and called for them to make a change in policy.

She said that the charity was huge-ly frustrated at the Government’s reluctance to intr-oduce more dras-tic changes.

She said: “Young drivers are more likely than any other age group to die, particularly young male drivers. Grad-uated licences are vitally important and would be a really valuable thing to do.

“They are proven to be successful and already exist in many countries.”

She said a survey carried out by Brake found that as many as 87 per cent of motorists want learners to gain a specified minimum level of experience behind the wheel before taking the test.

Also, 81 per cent supported restrictions being put on novice drivers for a period after they have passed their test. These include a zero drink-drive limit, and bans on night driving, motorway driving and carrying lots of passengers who are not family members.

Three in four of those in favour of restrictions said they should be imposed until a driver is at least 20 years old.

Of the 1,000 drivers polled, most support for post-rest restrictions came from older motorists, but even among 17-24 year olds there was 54 per cent support.

Andy Goldby, director of motor underwriting at Direct Line car insurance, said: “There is a genuine need for many young drivers to gain greater driving skills than under the current testing system.”

A Department for Transport spokes-person said: “The Government has considered the option of ‘graduated licensing’ carefully, but introducing restrictions after someone has passed their test would penalise the safe and law-abiding majority.”

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