In a bid to reduce the number of teenage drivers involved in road traffic accidents, the Government are proposing a ban on novice drivers being able to carry any passengers other than their own family members.

The announcement closely follows the sentencing of 19 year old Naomi Jones, who was convicted for the careless driving which resulted in the death of her passenger and friend, 17 year old Elysia Ashworth.

With the onus on safe driving, the proposal has been heavily backed by Brake, a road safety charity. The ban would take effect for just nine months after having passed your driving test, and would be applicable not only to young drivers – who account for a third of all road accidents in the UK – but to all new licence holders, potentially raising awareness across a wide age range of drivers. It could prove to be the vital amount of time needed in allowing a novice driver to become more experienced in understanding the importance of exercising caution behind the wheel.

The restriction has already come under scrutiny however by the AA’s president, who has questioned exactly how a law such as this one could possibly be enforced. Differentiating between who are family members and who are friends of the driver will likely require heavy monitoring by law enforcements; the cost of which is sure to fall to the taxpayer.

It’s also difficult to ignore the stark contrast between an idea such as this one, and the ongoing campaign to reduce the number of cars on the road and their emissions. The ban will not only exclude friends of young drivers, but also colleagues, making car share schemes less popular.

With cities and towns becoming more populated, it’s likely to result in a heavy increase in traffic and a noticeable reduction in the availability of parking spaces both during the week and at the weekends.

Suggestions have been made by Robert Gifford, the executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety that new drivers should instead undergo a more rigorous instruction when being taught how to drive; with more emphasis on proactive prevention of car accidents occurring.

It’s a valid point when you consider that the notion behind receiving your licence denotes that an individual is in fact capable of driving a car. Imposing a ban onto a new driver is an unusual concept in any case, and perhaps investment should be put into ensuring that drivers are better fit for the road whilst accompanied by an instructor.

Stephen Jury


December 5, 2012

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