Government considering changes affecting young drivers
Young drivers could benefit from improved training and lower insurance premiums as the government confirmed its intention to launch a green paper on improving the safety and reducing risks to young drivers.
The proposals were unveiled at a summit for the motor insurance industry, hosted by the Department for Transport. Representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Department for Health and consumer organisation uSwitch were also present. The government is expecting the changes to result in a reduction in the high cost of vehicle insurance currently facing motorists – especially young drivers.
A green paper looking at a range of options for improving the safety of newly-qualified drivers will be published later in the spring. Among the proposals being considered are:
- a minimum learning period before candidates are permitted to sit their test
- enabling learner drivers to take lessons on motorways, and perhaps during adverse weather conditions or during darkness to encourage greater practice prior to taking a test
- increasing the existing probationary period from 2 to 3 years for a new driver’s licence to be revoked if they receive 6 or more penalty points
- making the driving test more rigorous to better prepare learners to drive unsupervised
- incentives for young drivers to take up additional training after passing their test.
The government is also considering the possibility of imposing temporary restrictions on newly qualified drivers and further details will be included for discussion when the green paper is published.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
It is alarming that a fifth of people killed or seriously injured on our roads in 2011 were involved in a collision where at least one driver was aged 17 to 24. Improving the safety of our young drivers is therefore a real priority and will not only reduce casualties but should also mean a reduction in the sky-high insurance premiums they pay.
I have been clear that I want to see insurance premiums reflecting conditions, performance and risks on the road. We have already done much as a government to address the concerns around motor insurance but more still needs to be done before young drivers feel satisfied they are getting value for money. I look forward to working with the industry and hearing from them how these proposals will help reduce premiums.
Any excuse will do! (or will it??)
A police force has revealed a list of "astonishing" excuses motorists give when they are caught breaking the law.
Dorset Police said they were amazed at what some drivers say when they are caught red-handed - including blaming officers for using unmarked patrol cars.
One man, when stopped for using a mobile phone while driving, stated the obvious to the police officer: "Well, I wouldn't have used my mobile if I knew there were policemen in an unmarked car behind me."
Another motorist, a woman who had already served a driving ban after being repeatedly caught speeding, told police when she was stopped again in Bournemouth: "The use of the laser in an unmarked car to catch people is criminal."
One driver, who was stopped travelling at 50mph in a 40mph zone in Poole, admitted to police: "I'm on my way to an eyesight test and didn't see the speed limit sign."
A biker apprehended in Weymouth for speeding thought it was unfair the police positioned themselves at the bottom of a hill because his bike goes faster downhill. Another driver, nabbed doing 53mph told police: "Sorry, I thought it was a 40 miles per hour zone."
In another incident, police stopped a woman for using a mobile phone while driving. She denied the offence and said police must be mistaken because she did not have her phone with her and was instead eating a prawn cracker.
The motorist provided the mobile number to the officer and when the officer rang the number unsurprisingly her phone rang in the car. The lady immediately apologised and offered the officer a prawn cracker. She was issued with a ticket.
Pass Rate Up
The Department of transport has announced a rise in the driving test pass rate. The pass rate in 2011/12 increased from 44% to 47% compared with 2007/8.
New Highway Code App
One of Britain's most iconic publications is undergoing a digital revolution as Transport Secretary, Justine Greening, marks the Highway Code's 81st year by launching it as an interactive app for smartphones.
Now a new app for the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch will make it even easier to keep up to date with the rules of the road through a more intuitive, interactive format.
The new app includes the complete contents of the Highway Code with a search facility, making it easy to find rules and information. There are also interactive features like quizzes, a stopping distance calculator and a tool to help users identify road signs.
The Official Highway Code app is available on iTunes for £3.99.
It's never too late!
A 74 year old Cumbrian grandmother recently passed her driving test at her 3rd attempt, 58 years after taking her 1st driving lesson! The determined lady passed with only 4 minor faults. How about that? If this lady can do it who can't?
Subsidy for taking Pass Plus
Staffordshire County Council is offering a subsidy to newly qualified drivers, to encourage them to obtain the Pass Plus qualification. This very worthwhile cost-saving of either £70 or £90 (depending on where in the county you live) allows drivers, who have recently passed the driving test, to continue to develop their driving skills (including motorway driving). Please contact me for further details.
Learner drivers to be allowed on motorways?
It has been suggested by the government that learner drivers may soon be allowed to take lessons on motorways, to enable them to develop their high speed driving skills before taking a driving test. Currently learner drivers are not allowed to drive on motorways. It is expected that learners would have to be accompanied by a qualified driving instructor for any motorway tuition to take place.
Good news for drivers!
Utility companies who take too long to complete their road works will face higher charges, Transport Minister Norman Baker announced .
All utility companies who dig up the road must agree a time frame for their works with the local council. If a firm overstays this period and has not agreed the additional time with the local council, they may face an ‘overrun charge’ for the additional time they spend on the road.