Restrictions on young drivers considered

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The Independent Online
TWO schemes to restrict young drivers soon after they pass their tests are being considered because of concern over the number of deaths such drivers cause.

The Government is considering making drivers put 'P-plates' on their cars for up to two years after passing their test. They would be prohibited from driving above a certain speed. In Northern Ireland, where such a scheme has been in operation since 1968, the limit, even on motorways, is 45mph.

A more stringent option being looked at is for new drivers to display 'R-plates' barring them from driving certain types of vehicles until they have gained more experience.

Other options include imposing a total alcohol ban on young drivers or, as suggested by the Automobile Association, banning them from driving if they collect four penalty points, compared with other drivers who are only banned when they have 12.

Kenneth Carlisle, the minister for roads, said that of all drivers, 10 per cent were aged 21 or younger, yet they were involved in 20 per cent of accidents involving casualties.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents welcomed the move: 'We would like to see an experiment, for say three years, with this. Although there are similar measures in New Zealand, Northern Ireland and France, there hasn't been much analysis of the results.'

Most motoring organisations support the move except the AA which said it was an 'administrative nightmare'.

The move has been prompted by a number of well-publicised accidents involving several deaths of young people killed in high performance cars, usually belonging to their parents. The options are expected to be presented to Mr Carlisle in the next couple of months.