Safety group lobby against young drivers carrying passengers

06/11/2020

MPs are being asked to consider restricting teenagers from carrying passengers for a period after they qualify.

Last month, a newly qualified driver was cleared of causing the deaths of three of her passengers when her overloaded car left the road and hit a tree. One of the five passengers was sitting in the footwell, without access to a seat belt.

Kasey Boulton, 19, who had passed her driving test less than a month before the collision, had five passengers in her Vauxhall Astra including one in the rear footwell.

The police collision investigator believed that overloading of the vehicle was likely to have caused an imbalance in the car’s handling and stability.

Boulton told the jury: “I didn’t think about the consequences. I was conscious that he [the passenger in the footwell] was there and he shouldn’t be. I didn’t say to him to get out. I wish I had.”

Young people used as free taxi drivers

Road safety charity Brake — which claims young drivers acting as “taxi drivers” for their friends directly contributes to serious accident rates — have asked the Commons Transport Select Committee to introduce restrictions.

Brake is in favour of a phased driver licensing system, which would see new young drivers subject to certain restrictions on their activity.

A Brake spokesperson said, “Introducing restrictions on young drivers would prevent them from being pressured into giving lifts to friends as "it’s simply a matter of saying it’s against the law.

"It’s giving young people that power to be safe and to protect the lives of other young people."

Currently the only special measure in place to deter new motorists is a law which strips them of their licence if they receive six penalty points within the first two years, rather than the standard 12 points.

As well as banning passengers, past proposals considered for graduated driving licences have involved driver curfews, lower alcohol limits and making the use of "P" plates mandatory – schemes already in place in some countries, such as the US, Canada, Australia and Sweden.

“Olivia’s Law”

Family and friends of a sixth form student killed in a crash caused by two racing drivers are calling for a change in the law for new motorists.

Olivia Alkir, 17, of Denbighshire, was a passenger in a car that crashed while the driver was racing another car in June last year. Drivers Edward Bell, who passed his driving test a day earlier, and Thomas Quick were jailed for five years.

The petition calls for new young drivers to have a black box recorder fitted to their vehicles for the first year, to monitor their journeys. The petition also wants newly qualified motorists to be limited to one passenger, who must be a qualified driver.

If the petition reaches 100,000 by February, it will lead to a debate in Parliament.

Denbighshire councillors voted unanimously to back the petition, after hearing that black boxes were required in cars used by young, newly qualified drivers in Australia.

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