THE Government has announced plans aimed at young drivers by revealing plans for a Green Paper on improving their safety and reducing risk. Young motorists could benefit from improved training and lower insurance premiums.
The proposals were unveiled at a summit for the motor insurance industry, hosted by the Department for Transport. Representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Department for Health and consumer organisation uSwitch were also present. The Government is expecting the changes to result in a reduction in the high cost of vehicle insurance currently facing motorists and especially young drivers.
The paper looks at a range of options for improving the safety of newly-qualified drivers and will be published later in the spring. Among the proposals being considered are:
• A minimum learning period before candidates are permitted to sit their test;
• Enabling learner drivers to take lessons on motorways, and perhaps during adverse weather conditions or during darkness to encourage greater practice prior to taking a test;
• Increasing the existing probationary period from 2 to 3 years for a new driver’s licence to be revoked if they receive six or more penalty points;
• Making the driving test more rigorous to better prepare learners to drive unsupervised;
• Incentives for young drivers to take up additional training after passing their test.
The Government is also considering the possibility of imposing temporary restrictions on newly qualified drivers and further details will be included for discussion when the green paper is published.
The summit followed an inaugural meeting held at No10 Downing Street last year. A number of changes have already been implemented to address a range of concerns relating to motor insurance. These include:
• Introducing Continuous Insurance Enforcement, making it illegal to own an uninsured vehicle unless it is registered SORN;
• Consulting on increasing the penalty for uninsured driving;
• Transforming no win, no fee law suits so that, from April, lawyers will no longer be able to double their fees if they win (at the expense of the defendant and their insurers);
• Banning ‘referral fees’ paid between lawyers, insurers, claims firms, garages and others trading in profitable accident claims, also from April;
• Banning claims firms from offering upfront cash incentives or other gifts to people who bring claims to them, from April. Recommend a friend deals will also be banned.
• Cracking down on the number of whiplash claims – the Ministry of Justice has consulted on proposals including setting up independent medical panels to improve injury assessment and increasing.