In a radical suggestion that’s likely to cause much debate and publicity a leading insurance industry body, the ABI (Association of British Insurers), has called for stringent restrictions on driving activities for the under 25s. The ABI represents the views of many major insurers in the UK and these suggestions reflect the growing sense of unease among insurers about the number of motor accidents that can be attributed to young or inexperienced drivers.

According to statistics, one in four of all motor related deaths in the UK is a young driver or one of their passengers. This is despite the fact that young drivers account for only 12% of all motorists. The problem is particularly serious with young male drivers who are on average five times more likely to be involved in a serious motor accident than their older counterparts. A recent EU ruling made it illegal (on grounds of sexual discrimination) for insurance companies to price policies on the basis of gender so insurers face the problem of not being able to set a insurance premium for young male drivers. This likely to see the cost of insurance rise significantly. The ABI’s suggestions will be seen by many as a way of addressing this issue. So what exactly did the ABI call for?

  • A minimum 12 month learning period before the test can be taken; this eliminates the incentive to rush to take the practical test
  • A ban on intensive driving courses
  • The lowering of the age at which young people can learn to drive to 16 ½ years.
  • The introduction of graduated driver licensing to include “number of passenger” and “night time” restrictions.
  • The lowering of the blood alcohol concentration for drivers aged between 17-24.

It remains to be seen whether the department of transport and the government take any notice but it is clear that the ABI will continue to campaign for safer roads and lower insurance premiums.