Newly-qualified motorists should be barred from driving at night or with passengers, according to a Midland MP.
Introducing a “graduated driver licensing”, which imposed restrictions on motorists until they have gained experience behind the wheel, would cut accidents, said MP Mark Pawsey (Con Rugby).
Currently, drivers are considered to be fully qualified the moment they pass their tests – but one in five has a crash within six months of obtaining their licence.
Although it would be a break with the traditional British system, graduated driver licensing schemes are already used in parts of Canada, Australia and the US.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Pawsey highlighted research by Cardiff University which concluded that graduated licensing could save lives.
He said: “I have seen the effect that a road traffic accident can have: when one of my teenage son’s great friends lost his life, it had an effect on the whole friendship group. I also speak as an observer at a local court where a young man was sentenced for causing by careless driving the death of his friend who was in the passenger seat.”
He added: “A lot of research has been carried out by Dr Sarah Jones and Professor Stephen Palmer of Cardiff university, and they have put together a detailed report on the potential of graduated licensing to save lives. They draw attention to the driving conditions where risks are highest and note that they are exacerbated for new and young drivers: driving late at night, driving with passengers of a similar age and driving after drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
“To save lives, those conditions need to be minimised, which is exactly what graduated driver licensing does. It reduces exposure to those conditions and builds on-road driving experience by providing an intermediate phase - where there is a degree of supervision and control - between being a learner and holding a full licence.