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Parents back new laws to protect young drivers

15 March 2017

Raising the driving age, restricting first car choice and a zero alcohol limit may help to reduce car accidents involving young and inexperienced drivers

Parents of young drivers would back additional tougher driving laws designed to reduce the high human and financial cost of road accidents involving young and newly qualified drivers, new research has found.

On the 1st March, higher penalties for using a mobile phone while driving were introduced for all motorists. However, newly qualified drivers stand to be the most severely affected if caught using a mobile device behind the wheel as the 6 penalty points they’d receive is enough to trigger a 12 month driving ban if received within 2 years of passing their test.

New research from Car Insurance, carried out amongst 1000 parents of 17 to 25 year olds who’ve passed their driving tests, found that 10% had children who’d had an accident requiring an insurance claim within one year of qualifying to drive and up to 62% would agree with further changes to driving laws to make younger drivers safer.

According to the ABI, drivers aged 17-to-20 are twice as likely to make an insurance claim as other drivers and their claims costs will be three times higher as well. 54% of parents said that they worry about their child’s safety when they are out driving.

  • 62% believe that young drivers should be restricted in the power and speed of the cars they can drive in the first year following passing their test
  • 54% believe there should be a zero alcohol drink/drive limit for drivers under the age of 20
  • 34% believe that telematics or ‘black box’ style insurance policies should be mandatory for drivers under the age of 20
  • 29% believe the minimum driving age should be increased by at least one year to 18+

The minimum UK driving age of 17 has been around for more than 100 years. It was set in the Motor Car Act 1903 when drivers who registered their vehicles were given ‘freedom of the road’ to travel at speeds up to 20 MPH. There were less than 8000 cars on UK roads at the turn of the 20th century. There are now around 26 million licensed cars in the UK*.

Young drivers living in Scotland should be particularly aware of incoming changes to CU80 penalties as car insurance recently revealed that Scottish drivers have the highest rate of CU80 convictions, with a fifth of all drivers in Scotland having been caught using their phone behind the wheel.

Percentage of drivers convicted of using a mobile phone at the wheel in 2016 by region

 Region Percentage of drivers with CU80 conviction
 Scotland 19.5%
 London 12.4%
 North West 6.0%
 East of England 5.9%
 South East 5.0%
 South West 3.3%
 Yorkshire 3.1%
 West Midlands 2.6%
 Wales 2.5%
 North East 2.3%
 East Midlands 1.4%
 Northern Ireland 0.9%

Matt Oliver, car insurance spokesperson at commented; “Because younger drivers are more likely to have accidents, and with those accidents generally being more serious, insurance premiums can be high for new drivers in their first few years of driving. Tougher penalties for using a mobile phone and measures to restrict the choices of younger drivers - such as their choice of car, setting a zero alcohol drink/drive limit and having their driving constantly monitored with a telematics policy - may be unpopular amongst young drivers, but if they were to reduce the number of accidents involving that age group, it may lead lower car insurance premiums.

“There are other ways young drivers can try to keep the cost of their insurance down such as adding an experienced driver to their policy as a named driver, choosing a car with a smaller engine, considering a telematics or ‘black box’ car insurance policy and most important of all, shopping around for the right deal at the best price using a reputable price comparison website.”

To find out how to save money on your car insurance, visit

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Notes to editors:

From 8-14 February 2017, One Poll conducted an online survey amongst 1000 randomly selected UK adults with children aged between 17 and 25 who had passed their driving test.

*Source – Dept of Transport