09:06 09 October 2008
Teenage drivers are more likely to crash when travelling with a group of friends, according to the latest research.
Insurance companies and political groups have called for a change to the law after a study revealed that young drivers are up to three times more likely to suffer a fatal car accident when travelling with friends.
The research findings, carried out by the Association of British Insurers, states that: "Young passengers can both distract young drivers and encourage them to drive in a more risky way.
"Restricting drivers under 20 to carrying just one passenger for the first six months of driving will allow them to gain experience of carrying passengers before having to deal with the distraction of three or four of their teenage peers in the car."
Cold hard fact
The Association's report states that young motorists are 39% more likely to suffer a fatal collision with one passenger in their car than if they were alone.
This statistic increases to 85% with two passengers and 182% with three.
It also reinforces the knowledge that teenage drivers are twice as likely to kill or injure passengers in their vehicle, than those drivers aged over 30.
Based on these figures it is believed that 270 deaths or serious injuries a year could be prevented if drivers under 20-years-old are limited to carrying one passenger for the first six months of passing their test.
Despite these finings, no final decision has been made to legally enforce the law nationwide.
Across the pond
After similar research in America, several States limited the number of passengers teenage drivers can carry in either the first six or 12 months following obtaining their licence.
Each State found the scheme successful and on average fatal crashes dropped by a staggering 37%.
The top 10 V6s
Put the pedal to the metal with these.
Ford has designed a new electronic governor for the Focus that they are calling the Mkey. Kept by the parents or guardian of young drivers, it will allow them to limit the car's top speed to 129km/h. Plus it can be cap the vehicle's speakers to half volume.
AIG's project is similar and also still in the pilot stages. It incorporates a GPS unit into teenager's cars and allows parents to monitor and control their children's driving habits and location via the internet or by mobile phone.
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