New drivers could face passenger ban

The proposals are being considered by the Government with the aim of improving road safety...

Learner driver

New drivers aged less than 25 could be banned from carrying passengers within that age bracket for the first six months or year after they pass their test, under plans being considered by the Government.

The new legislation could be introduced as part of an amendment to the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act, which currently states that new drivers' licences are revoked if they collect six penalty points within two years of passing their test.

Minister for Roads and Local Transport Richard Holden will consider the proposals at a meeting on 16 May. 

Driving licence

The plans for a ‘graduated driving licence’ scheme were first brought forward by Sharron Huddleston, 52, whose 18-year-old daughter Caitlin was killed in a 2017 car crash, along with her friend Skye Mitchell, also 18.

In April 2020, Huddleston submitted evidence to Parliament that included recommendations that would force new drivers to display a P-plate, in addition to banning them from carrying passengers aged under 25. Other proposals included a night-time curfew, a ban on hands-free mobile phone use, zero tolerance on alcohol and restrictions on engine capacity.

A similar scheme was previously considered under Theresa May’s Government, but it didn't materialise due to concerns about restrictions on the free movement of young people. There were also concerns that the scheme might be seen to be unfair, with incidents involving those aged 70 and over being similarly high.

Phased driving licences

Instead, recent legislation has focused on improving training for young drivers, such as making it lawful for learners to use the motorway with an approved instructor. 

Commenting on Huddleston’s campaign, the President of the AA, Edmund King, expressed support, saying: “Young drivers are not just a risk to themselves. In 2021, 926 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes involving at least one young driver. These heartbreaking crashes have profound consequences.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport (DfT) commented: “Every death or serious injury on our roads is a tragedy and we continue to work tirelessly to improve road safety for all users.”

According to Government statistics, people aged 17 to 29 accounted for 30% of road casualties and 26% of road fatalities in the year ending June 2022. In 2021, official statistics estimated that the same age group accounted for 14% of total driver’s licence holders.

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