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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Driving age 'must increase to 18'
Car wreckage
Young drivers are more likely than others to be involved in accidents
The minimum driving age must be raised from 17 to 18 to stop young people "killing themselves and others", MPs have said.

The Commons transport committee also wants learner drivers to spread lessons over a year before taking the test and a complete alcohol ban for new drivers.

Novice drivers should be banned from carrying passengers aged between 10 and 20 late at night, the report adds.

The government said it would not rule out adopting the proposals.

Young driver safety was already a priority, it added.

Government figures show that one-third of road deaths involve a car driven by a person aged between 17 and 25, although this group accounts for just one in eight licence-holders.

In 1992, there were 12.6 deaths on the road for every 100,000 motorists aged 17 to 20. By 2005, the figure had risen to 19.2.


Proposals in the MPs' report, called Novice Drivers, include:

  • people learning to drive from the age of 17, but not taking the test until they are 18
  • drivers completing a set minimum number of lessons with a structured syllabus
  • extending hazard-perception training using computer simulators to encourage better habits in young drivers-to-be
  • a zero alcohol limit for all drivers for a year after passing their test
  • banning drivers from carrying passengers aged between 10 and 20 from 11pm to 5am for a year after passing their test

Gwyneth Dunwoody
We cannot continue to waste young lives
Gwyneth Dunwoody MP

Transport committee chairman Gwyneth Dunwoody, Labour MP for Crewe and Nantwich, said: "The time has come for a revolutionary change."

She added: "I think some males would like to drive at 11. But the reality is that we aren't talking about people having the odd crunch... but about people killing themselves and killing others.

"The other side is a rise in the number of young people killing young people in the same car."

But the move has not been welcomed by all young people.

Lauren Coles, 18, from Spalding in Lincolnshire, told the BBC News website: "This is stupid. I've been driving over a year now and I need my driving licence because I live in the middle of nowhere.

"I've lost two friends in accidents but I wouldn't change the law on the driving age."

The experience of one young learner driver

Should the minimum driving age be raised to 18?
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