A zero-tolerance drink drive limit for novice drivers could help reduce collisions, according to the AA at a hearing of the Transport Select Committee.
The AA gave evidence on a broad range of topics relating to young drivers including support for telematic insurance and some reservations about post-test restrictions such as night-time curfews and passenger restrictions.
Among the measures tabled for discussion was parliamentary research which shows young drivers are in favour of stricter limits for drink driving.
The latest government statistics show 16-to-24-year-olds make up 24% of all drink drive casualties (compared to 20% overall casualties).
FOI data from the DVSA shows the most common reason new drivers lost their licence under the New Drivers Act in 2019 was due to insurance. The New Drivers Act means any drivers who tot up six points in the two years following their test lose their licence and have to take the test again.
In total, 11, 125 drivers lost their licence under the New Drivers Act in 2019. There were on average 14 offences per day for new drivers caught in a vehicle uninsured against third parties, totalling more than 5,500 across the year.
On average there were 11 offences per week for distraction, such as using mobile phones behind the wheel (602 total).
Eight new drivers per month on average lost their driving licence due to alcohol-related driving offences (96 total).
Lorna Lee, campaigns manager at the AA, said: “The accident rates for young drivers have been too high for too long so we welcome this opportunity to talk to parliament about what action is needed.
“We believe a combination of measures along with robust enforcement would help improve the picture for young drivers.
“In short, telematic insurance can play a huge role in encouraging and rewarding good driving behaviour and choices instead of overly draconian post-test restrictions on passenger numbers and curfews. Making these restrictions mandatory could have a serious impact for those young people who do shift work. Given the impact of COVID-19 on this age group it would be a particularly bitter pill for them to swallow right now.
“However, positive changes to the national curriculum to include road safety could help ensure better attitudes towards driving in younger teens. We would also support stricter monitoring of the learning process – such as a mandatory learning period and lessons in certain situations such as rural roads and in darkness.
“We were interested to see young people reacted positively towards a zero-tolerance drink drive limit as their age group is over-represented in drink drive casualties.
“We would support lowering the drink drive limit for novice drivers and hope it would serve as a reminder to all drivers that if they are driving they should not be drinking.
“We also need to see the current laws enforced more effectively. The New Drivers Act means any new drivers caught using a mobile phone get at least six points and a £200 fine – enough to lose their licence straight away.
“Despite this deterrent, too many young drivers still think they can get away with using a phone at the wheel, so we need targeted police campaigns to stamp out this dangerous activity and enforce the laws we already have in place.”