Parents ready the chequebooks, 16-year-olds can now legally drive

Parents have your chequebooks at the ready, 16-year-olds can now legally drive

The Government passed a law this weekend that entitles 16-year-olds to drive low-powered microcars such as the 5bhp Aixam Coupé S pictured above.

The news that will have teenagers up and down the country reaching for their string-backed driving gloves, has come about because a European Union directive forced ministers to introduce new vehicle categories, that include light quadricycles with a maximum weight of 350kg and a top speed of 28mph.
All a youngster has to do in order to get behind the wheel on their sixteenth birthday is pass a full moped test.

The change in legislation has worried some safety campaigners who believe that young people account for too many casualties on the road.

Bernard Adams, head of CAM Rider, which runs 11 motorbike training schools in Britain explained to the Sunday Times: "A lot of 16-year-olds do not have the driving maturity to cope with the extra responsibility of driving a quadricycle.

"When you have two of them in the car, then they tend to show off at speed. They feel invincible at that age, but I'm very uncomfortable about this - even at 28mph."

Manufacturers of the low-powered cars have hit back, arguing that the addition of a chassis and two extra wheels provides a protective element that a moped simply doesn't have.

The Aixam Coupe S, a French-built quadricycle that features a 400cc, twin-cylinder engine, will be the first microcar to be sold in the UK.

But potential customers will need to get saving, the Aixam costs £9,995 (including the first 12 months tax), that's triple the price of many 125cc scooters.
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