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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 22:58 GMT 23:58 UK
Young drivers 'must learn longer'
Car crash
Young drivers are often a danger to themselves, the ABI claims
Young people should spend a year learning to drive before being allowed to take their driving test, the UK insurance industry has recommended.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) claims this would stop 1,000 serious injuries and deaths among young drivers each year.

The ABI's call is supported by a group of other road safety organisations.

They say passenger numbers and night time driving should also be restricted for new drivers.

"Every day, four people are killed or seriously injured in crashes involving young drivers," said Stephen Haddrill, the ABI's director general.

"The trend is getting worse not better. We urge the Government to adopt these proposals to improve safety on our roads and reduce this tragic loss of life."

The safety plan is supported by the ABI, RAC Foundation, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety and three road safety organisations - Brake, Roadsafe and Make Roads Safe.

Safer driving

Four young drivers are killed or seriously injured in road accidents every day and 80% of all accidental deaths among young men are due to car crashes, the groups argue.

To stop this, the organisations say that a full licence should be granted only gradually, with learning prior to the test recorded in a logbook.

After spending at least one year learning to drive, newly qualified drivers should be encouraged to restrict their night time driving and face a limit on the number of passengers they can carry.

The ABI says that experience of this policy in California has shown that it would lead to a sharp cut in causalities.

According to research quoted by the ABI, drivers at night are more likely to be affected by drink or drugs.

And young drivers with passengers are more likely to engage in "competitive" driving or show off to friends in their car who may also be distracting them.

Recently the insurance company firm More Than offered to cut its charges for any young motorists who agreed not to drive at night between 2300 and 0600.

And last month the UK's second largest car insurance company, Norwich Union, said it was raising its rates by an average of 16%, partly because of the sharply rising cost of personal injury claims.

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