LONDON (Reuters) - Young drivers should be banned from driving alone before they are 18, in an attempt to reduce deaths on the roads, an influential group of MPs said on Thursday.
A zero-alcohol limit and a ban on new drivers carrying young passengers late at night would also help reduce the “appalling” level of accidents, the transport committee said in a report.
A third of drivers killed in crashes are under 25, even though they only account for an eighth of licence holders.
Young male drivers are now the biggest killer of young women in Britain, the report says.
“Bold measures are required to reduce the number of people killed and injured in crashes involving young drivers,” said Labour MP Gwyneth Dunwoody, who chairs the committee. “Novice drivers are extremely vulnerable and pose considerable risks.”
In 2005, more than 1,000 people died in crashes involving a young driver. Nearly three in 10 young men aged between 17 and 19 has a crash in their first year of driving.
The MPs said more research was needed to find out why so many young people are dying on the roads.
One senior policeman told the committee it was part of a wider trend towards more anti-social behaviour and risk-taking by some young people.
Driving tests must be made harder to ensure that drivers are better prepared for the roads, the MPs said.
Tests could be extended to include fast driving on motorways, although only in cars with dual controls.
Extra training would help tackle thrill-seeking young drivers who are too confident and oblivious to the dangers.
Other recommendations include:
* Raising the age of solo driving from 17 to 18 by setting a 12-month minimum learning period
* Banning young drivers from having any passengers aged between 10 and 20, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
* Setting a new zero drink-drive alcohol limit for new drivers
* Putting road safety on the national curriculum
The MPs said the government’s first priority must be to tackle the growing problem of illegal drivers. An estimated one million drivers do not have a valid licence.
A Department for Transport spokesman had no immediate comment. The report is at: