Insurers proposing radical new changes for young drivers

22 November 2011

speeding car New young drivers could have it tough in the future if the Association of British Insurers get their own way. They’ve proposed a whole raft of legal changes including:

  • Drivers under 25 should have a minimum one-year learning period.
  • They should also hold a ‘graduated driving licence’ for two years before taking a second test.
  • Restrictions would be made on the number of passengers they could carry during the graduated period, as well a restriction on them driving between 11pm and 4am, unless necessary for work purposes.
  • Drivers under 25 should not be allowed to take the wheel if they have drunk any alcohol.

The ABI have made the proposals in an attempt to help cut the high level of deaths and serious injuries that involve young drivers. Nick Starling, ABI's director of general insurance and health, said: "Our proposals are not designed to drive young drivers off the road, but to ensure that they become safer drivers. We must act to reduce the tragic loss of young lives on our roads.

“While recent years may have seen a reduction in road accident fatalities and serious injuries, the figures are still too high. Every young driver statistic is a tragedy. Whether it is inexperience, youthful bravado or sheer recklessness, we need tough action to better equip young drivers to handle the dangers of driving.”

What do you think about all that, readers? Especially if you’re under the age of 25 and these proposals would affect you.

TOPICS:   Insurance


  • PokeHerPete
    Great but what precautions are they going to take against women drivers?
  • Major a.
    Its amazing how they concetrate on young drivers, where it is the vast minority who drive like twits! As someone who regulary drive 40miles a day, i consistantly see drivers over/under taking without indicators or talking on a mobile phone ect. These drivers are not all youths, a lot of them are middle aged or older. Prehaps they should look at those who consistantly do 5/10miles under the speed limit at all times, be they on a 30/40mph road or on a motorway. Still the best ones are the ones who pull out from lane 1 still doing 50mph to lane 2, with cars coming up that lane doing 70 or more, who then have to break hard to avoid rear ending them!
  • Sense
    Surely the last rule should apply to ALL drivers? that would make more sense.
  • illz
    fuck nick starling... i would love them to try enforce the 11-4 rule...
  • Sicknote
    Why is the UK in the minority group of companies that do not re-test drivers at frequent intervals; I would be very happy to pay a lot less for insurance by proving every 3 /4 years that I still posses the skills required to drive. Too many incompetent legally insured drivers driving taxed & MOT's cars on the road that simply shouldn't be there and the police only catch up with them when the kill or maim.
  • Pedro
    Some interesting ideas there, if these changes are implemented then I do hope insurance for young drivers are brought down to an affordable level for youngsters.
  • Colin N.
    Good points but only if this resulted in a guaranteed reductions of everyones policy. I understand the point "major pain in the ass" has about middle ages people on mobile phones, under taking etc but remember there are already laws about this and it becomes a policing issue. The only way we can reduce insurance costs significantly is if the "if theres blame theres a claim" culture dissipates.
  • Alexis
    How about just limiting the horsepower of cars that young people can drive? No more than 90hp until you're 25? The vast majority of young drivers are fine. It's only the minority that cause everybody to have to pay higher premiums. These rules would unfairly affect perfectly safe youngsters.
  • klingelton
    i'd like to see these stats. in the last few accidents and minor prangs i've seen, young drivers were not involved. This is with exception, 1 incident involved a young driver that had been rear ended while stopped at traffic lights outside tropical world. The poor bugger was so shaken up they were visibly shaking and sat on a cerb. mandatory re-tests. i know a few that would immediately fail (probably myself included)
  • klingelton
    my apologies, it was a zebra crossing.
  • Tom
    Why do these need to be legal changes? An insurer could choose to offer a package (for a reduced rate) that covers the driver only when they adhering to such rules. As it is illegal to drive without insurance, this would have exactly the same effect. Thus, if it was a good idea, insurers would already be doing it.
  • Spoonyboy
    I only agree with fourth point about alcohol. I would say they should be targeting company car drivers instead. They are the people who don't have to pay for their Audi's/BMWs, they don't pay for repairs, no service costs and the ones that have fuel cards are not bothered about the bad fuel economy brought on by speeding. Accidents involving young drivers are mainly due to inexperience where as accidents in company cars are caused by reckless experienced drivers who are often driving faster cars that are more expensive for insurance company's to repair. This also helps to increase everyone's insurance premiums. Isn't this recession difficult enough for young people?
  • james d.
    Why do they always insist on only applying this to young drivers? Oh right because they have no political representation so everyone can restrict their rights as much as they like. The experience argument is a good one, but then apply it to experience not age. If its being a new drive that's an issue, then apply this 1 year learning period to ALL new drivers not just ones under 25. The no drinking one is crazy, firstly this implies that experience increases your ability to drink drive, secondly again, if you really do want to send the message that experience reduces your ability to drink drive then apply to all new drivers not just young ones. The reason this makes me so mad is that this is a majority voice restricting the rights and freedoms of a minority group with almost no political representation in the hope that it will save some money. If you are wondering I am 27
  • David
    I'm way past 25... I don't think it's a political issue at all. Younger drivers take bigger risks - this is natural. I have a company car and don't drive like a tw*t. I take care to drive safely. Safe isn't cool and that's why younger drivers need to pay more for insurance. I propose that the Government provides a loan scheme for insurance so that it can rise to the level which makes the rest of us over 25s pay less, and then let them repay it over, say, 30 years when they are earning national-average wages. Works for tuition fees, doesn't it?
  • james d.
    David how can restricting the freedoms of a group not be a political issue. This isn't just about cost its about telling younger drivers what they can and can't do with their cars and when purely because they are young while allowing older drives to do as they please (within the law)
  • David
    James, under 18s have their freedoms restricted as well. Generally we think that's a good thing. We have controls on how old a person must be before they smoke, buy glue and order alcohol. Again this is generally a good thing. It implies that as a society we think that older people are less likely to take dangerous risks with themselves and others. I suppose 10-year olds could say their freedoms are curtailed bacause they can't buy knives but I don't see it that way. Very seriously, a LOT of young people get behind the wheel with their mates and end up dead. It happens a LOT. The rate, seriousness and cost is staggering. I would vote for any measure which saw a reduction in the loss of life, even if it meant that some freedoms for young people were "put off" a few years. It really isn't the same as discriminating based on gender or race - young poeple will (hopefully) get older and then obtain these "freedoms".
  • PlatinumPlatypus
    Seems like the insurers have finally cottoned onto the fact that fewer and fewer young people are willing to fork out for the increasing costs of motoring, and soon they'll be out of a job if they can't find a way to reduce the risk (and consequently premiums). The policies stated are undoubtedly age-ist though, and should be based on experience instead.
  • Tom
    Must disagree with David here. Controls over how old we are to smoke, buy alcohol etc are not a good thing. It is this 'forbidden fruit' aspect that makes smoking and drinking popular. I'll do the old fashioned comparison: In many European countries, access to alcohol is commonplace among younger people and they do not have the problems that we do as a result. To put another perspective on it, would it be OK to say that black people have more accidents than white people so should pay higher insurance? I think that would be racist... Oh, and how many is a LOT? Do you mean to say that you read it in the Daily Mail a LOT, or do you have some numbers to back it up? Compare it to deaths by diabetes for example...
  • Joe
    I wouldn''t mind having a retest every few years to prove I am a better driver than some of the middle aged muppets who drive like they are the only car on the road. Why do they get to pay yearly what I have to pay monthly? I'd only want to see stricter rules if; 1) They aren't too instrusive 2) It means I don't have to pay £330 a month to use my car (ps yes I was paying £330 third party up until a week ago, I am now on public transport.... £18 travel card every day. Young people dont have a chance in this country)
  • james d.
    Under 18s are minors, the state or parents or someone is responsible for your welfare. You pay for that lack of responsibility with a lack of autonomy. As a society we have decided that under 18s cannot make sensible decisions for themselves so we take care of them, provide for them and in some situations decide for them what is and is not safe. Once you are 18 you are an adult, expected to pay your own way in the world and fend for yourself. To give someone that responsibility while also restricting their freedoms is imo very wrong. I would not be against placing restrictions on a 17 year old driver, they are not adults. Or even increasing the age at which you are required to work and provide for yourself. By your logic we could impose any restriction on young people simply because they will eventually grow up. But soon, young people are going to realise that your generation have left a generation jobless, homeless and with a mountain of debt that they can never repay. And you won't even take a minute to consider how it might feel if these restrictions were placed upon you? How would you feel if someone told you when you can and cannot drive, who you can can and cannot take in your car. You would be outraged, and rightly so. But you don't care, as long as it only affects the young you don't care what they can and cannot do.
  • Mike H.
    "Drivers under 25 should not be allowed to take the wheel if they have drunk any alcohol." But driving whilst under the influence of drugs is OK, apparently, ASHEEEEEED!
  • crusher
    Personally I think it is very important to keep death off the roads. This is why I drive on the pavement. I also think drinking and driving is a bad thing. Too much drink gets spilt whilst cornering.
  • David
    @James, to be fair it was the generation before me who got decent pensions. They're the ones you want to go after! I think it's probably fairer to look at it in terms of length of time driving. If you've been driving for over 2 years with no accidents then maybe the restrictions get lifted. Perhaps we add restrictions for 2 years after any accident, or when people reach 60, or 70. Whatever we do we need to make it safer and cheaper for insurance. I have a son who will want to drive one day and I'd like hime to be able to afford it.
  • Dick S.
    I'm nearly half a century and have to say I agree with James Dewitts points. Although I do think chavs should be castrated at birth.
  • Scott
    They should all drive a 1.0 L Citroen AX Those cars were awful to drive and slow. You wouldn't dare overtake anything and the embarrassment factor of driving a crappy AX would help keep more people of the road. Simples.
  • christopher
    @David - 2 year restriction after an ACCIDENT? Look at the word. ACCIDENT. If i drop and spill a carton of milk then should than mean i'm banned from using a milk carton for two weeks and my wife/girlfriend/mum/daughter/pet should have to do it for me?
  • Sawyer
    James has a point. These particular rules aren't so bad, but you often have calls from action groups that practically ban young drivers. I know of one local newspaper that has been campaigning for several years to have the minimum driving age raised to 25 (despite the fact that it's an area with poor public transport, high youth unemployment, and therefore if it wasn't for my car I would've been part of their dole queue statistics). And yes, a LOT of young people drive too fast and have accidents. I'm terrified to get in a car with many people my age... but that's based on personal knowledge of their driving rather than the fact they're young, which is what insurers/government should be doing. Stick a GPS in everyone's car: that'd be my suggestion. That way they'd see that *I'm* a good driver (and reduce my premiums) and that the middle-aged guy tailgating me in his Beemer is an idiot.
  • Yue
    Nice little money spinner.
  • Cnut
    'milk' yeah right
  • MIkey S.
    I'm 24 and a doctor. I have operated on people, prescribed some pretty serious drugs and generally cared for your granny - and yet I can't be entirely trusted to drive a car. I know the stats show under 25s are generally a reckless bunch but it's another example of punishing the many to reach the few idiots.
  • Rick
    I am 25 myself and have been driving since I have been 18. I have never had an accident I am a safe and careful driver and the thing is many people are exactly this. It is always the minority who ruin things. These particular suggestions are terrible. There are a few key things which should be done:- 1) Driving Test should include motorway driving 2) Retests every X amount of years, maybe not a full driving test but something much simpler for the instructor to determine if the person is a capable and "safe" driver. I see too many terrible drivers who are middle aged old young male and female who do not seem to realise the basic principles of driving and simply should not be on the roads.
  • Businessman
    Really there are two sorts of bad drivers. Firstly the ones (for example @Major pain in the ass) who genuinely have problems understanding, and secondly the ones who do know perfectly well how to drive but on purpose drive like knobs anyway. Both of these groups can contain people of any age but honestly when you see a cheap hatchback with blacked-out windows swerving past you at 50 in a 30 zone... you know how old the driver is don't you...
  • Me
    Don't think young drivers are the main problem. There are too many women and middle age twats that drive very badly and guess who has the cheap insurance???
  • Daniel C.
    I'm sure I learned at school about stereotyping and the rise of the nazi party. Extreme I know but in every demographic throughout society you will find both good and bad drivers. If I want to get insurance on a car it will cost me 3 grand. I've never broken a law, don't drink and live responsibly. Why am i being punished for a crime I haven't committed?! That is 3 tines the value of the car! Ridiculous!
  • Richard
    @Dick Splash Seriously? Almost 50 and you call yourself Dick splash?
  • BillOddBod
    I can see what there trying to do, but it doesn't go far enough... The reason the 11-4 would be a good idea is simple, i live in a south coast town that has more then its far share of younger drivers, the majority of which all meet at the local seaside resort and rev the heck out of there engines and have drag races down the sea front, this also results in younger ladies turning up dressed like call girls trying to see which Berburry wearing stud will be the father of her lastest child benfit claim, this then causes the guys to show off and do tricks in there little saxo's that the cars just weren't designed to do or able to do, as a result this leads to very anti soical behavour like horns being beeped past midnight in built up areas where decent familys live and music in the cars playing so loudly that its a wonder the drivers not deaf. However how they would police it now as the Police are not only understaffed and over streched is beyond me. As for the not drinking, i think this is a great idea, but it should EVERY driver, not just new or young drivers. ZERO UNITS ALLOWED IF DRIVING.. end of, any drink in system if behind a wheel = Instant ban, no ifs no buts! Every single person reacts to drink in a different way, for example i have a friend that after half a pint is a little tipsy, where as i have others that can drink 4 or 5 pints without any effect. The best way for driving to change and to be fairer to all in my opinion is the following... Raise Age Limit to 21 Have a minimum of 20 lessons or 25 hours on the road (driving lessons to be limited to say £20 a hour for ALL companies) Regardless of age - within the 1st 12 months of passing you can not own or drive a car with an engine size bigger then 1.2 - in the next 12 months nothing bigger then 1.4 and then in the 3rd year no limit (this would stop kids getting behind the wheel of a car thats too powerful as well as lower the insurance as it wouldn't have a big engine) Make it Illegal for a driver to be a named driver on an older persons insurance or the insurance of the car in anybody but the main driver (so many kids get faster cars and Mummy or Daddy take out insurance in there name to lower the policy price, pretty sure its in force already but ENFORCE IT) Just those few steps will make the roads a better and safer place for all i think, we would still need to resolve the issue of the idiots that sit in the middle lane of an empty motorway - they should be banned from driving just as much as anyone that drink drives or speeds as there just as much of a danger.
  • No D.
    The drinking rule (and extended to drugs [including prescription]) should apply to all. If you knowing drink alcohol. take medication that says you should not operate machinery or drive, taking drugs and then get in a car to drive it then you license is revoked and mandatory retesting is required plus any subsequent insurance has higher premiums after a 12 month ban
  • Chris
    How would this affect people like myself - 22 years old with a company car?
  • Charles D.
    Of course, this will penalise the responsible and the reckless will ignore it anyway. As will those with non-UK licenses. And no license at all. IMHO it's taxis who should be tested annually - or preferably monthly. And that's just their bleeding cars. As for the drivers, I'd make it weekly.
  • PokeHerPete
    @Chris - Your nans micra is not a company car
  • Tom
    Why is it that 16 year olds are allowed to ride motorbikes at 60 mph but not drive cars? Of course, if they are allowed to get a job at 16, they need to get to work etc like anybody else and so have as much right to transport. But why are they not allowed to drive cars?
  • Rick G.
    When I started learning a week after my 17th Birthday, I'd never been behind the wheel of a car before. I passed in less than 6 months with 27 hours of lessons, I then took the extra driver thing (forgot its name) where I drove about 6 hours in a day, down to London and back. I'm 26 now & never had an accident. I disagree with most of the points above, apart from taking another test 2 years later, make sure no bad habits have been picked up. And I think the alcohol limit should be lowered for all drivers. Why tag everyone with the same brush? My car gave me a sense of freedom I'd never had before, who are the insurance companies to tell me I can't get in my car at midnight? Preposterous.

What do you think?

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