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Restrictions on young drivers ‘would save lives’

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 28, 2014

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LIVES could be saved and scores of injuries prevented on the roads in Staffordshire and Derbyshire by introducing 12-month probationary periods for young drivers who have recently passed their test, a motoring firm has said.

The RAC released the figures to support its belief that restrictions should apply to teenagers who are new to the roads.

It found that nearly 14 per cent of people killed or hurt in a car accident in Staffordshire and Derbyshire were involved in a crash with a driver aged between 17 and 19.

Through studying police accident statistics, the RAC was able to estimate the amount of injuries which could be prevented by bringing in the probationary period, which could include measures to limit the amount of young passengers in cars driven by teenagers or see curfews imposed to restrict driving late at night.

Deaths and serious injuries on Staffordshire’s roads fell by a quarter last year, but road safety chiefs insist there is still more to be done.

According to the figures, if the new rules were introduced the number of people killed or seriously injured of Staffordshire’s roads would be expected to decrease by six each year, while there would be 111 fewer injuries.

In Derbyshire, deaths and serious injuries would drop by eight and injuries by 93, it concluded.

The firm also said that rural roads were where the majority of smashes involving young drivers take place, rather than motorways.

RAC Foundation spokesman Philip Gomm said: “We want to respect young people’s freedoms, we want to keep them safe for the whole of their driving lives, but that possibly involves some limited restrictions when they first pass their test - the riskiest time for any driver.

“We often think that motorways are dangerous roads because of the speeds involved but accidents happen and they’re probably at their most common and severest on the rural roads.

“It’s those that don’t have the crash barriers, that have ditches and trees beside them, and this is where young people are particularly hurting themselves.”

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