Night-time driving ban for young drivers could save lives

  • Restrictions for newly qualified young drivers could save lives
  • Number of accidents could be greatly reduced, saving the economy £890 million a year
  • Motoring organisations say any ban would be difficult to enforce.

Banning newly qualified young drivers from night-time motoring will save 200 lives and result in 1,700 fewer serious injuries, according to new research.

The Cardiff University study was compiled after analysing road accident data from 2000 to 2007 and it revealed that one in five new drivers crashes within the first six months of passing their driving test.

The Cardiff team says the number of accidents can be greatly reduced and would save the economy £890 million a year, if the government introduced a graduated driver licensing scheme.

The study revealed that a large proportion of crashes involving young drivers happened in the night-time hours and with other young passengers in the car. A graduated licensing scheme would put curfew on young drivers and restrict them from carrying young passengers. Similar schemes already exist in New Zealand, Australia and part of the US and they have been successful.

Dr Sarah Jones, who led the research, said: "Graduated driver licensing works in other countries and there's no good reason why it wouldn't work here."

But motoring organisations say the limits - which could last up to two years - would be difficult to enforce.

The AA's head of road safety, Andrew Howard, said: "It would give totally the wrong signals to introduce new laws aimed at young people and then not enforce them - many would feel that all motoring laws could be broken."

A spokeswoman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said the training for new drivers should be much more intensive. She added: "Instead, there should be a driving log - similar to aircraft - where learners have to log 200 hours with an experienced motorist. They should drive at night, in the sunshine, in rain, snow, ice, on the motorway - under instruction at all time."