Restrictions on young drivers could save 200 lives a year

Safety campaigners are advocating the introduction of a graduated licensing scheme which would ban young motorists from driving at night, carrying teenage passengers or drinking alcohol.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Cardiff concluded that the measures could prevent up to 200 deaths on the road each year.

Several other nations already restrict the behaviour of young drivers, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and some parts of the US. The proposed GDL system would apply to those aged 17 to 24, and last for up to two years.

The team from Cardiff estimated the number of lives that could be saved by studying every major road traffic accident involving drivers aged 17 to 19 between 2000 and 2007.

As well as a reduction in fatalities, the figures suggest that with the GDL restrictions in place there would have been 1,700 fewer injuries.

Despite claims from motoring organisations that any new scheme would be difficult to enforce, the leader of the research, Dr Sarah Jones, said: "GDL works in other countries and there's no good reason why it wouldn't work here.

"It's not only lives that would be saved. Insurance costs should drop substantially if the number of crashes involving young drivers were reduced."

The results of the study were presented at a road safety conference in London yesterday.
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