YOUNG learner drivers could be allowed behind the wheel when they turn 16 under new proposals from the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
Dropping the legal age from 17 for provisional drivers is one measure suggested to make roads safer and reduce accidents. A minimum 12-month learning period on L-plates is also suggested to enable young drivers gain more supervised practice.
An ABI report states young drivers consistently over-estimate their abilities and underestimate the risks so should be restricted in what they can do until gaining sufficient experience – reducing the risk of 'thrill-seeking' and 'showing off'. Liam Mint, 15, from Matson, goes to Churchdown Academy. He said: "It would be great if I could start driving as soon as possible. All my family drive and I have to rely on them for lifts."
Shannon Udall, 16, from Avening, goes to Cirencester College. "I have already started driving on private roads and I think it's a great idea to bring the driving age down to 16," she said.
Jade Crosthwaite, 16, from Avening, goes to Stroud College. She says bringing down the legal driving age would help young people living in rural areas. "It's still very expensive to drive, I'm not sure if many people my age could afford their own cars and the expense that goes with it," she said.
Aman Sood, 31, from Gloucester, said: "I think this is a terrible idea. More supervised practice sounds like a good move, but the reality would be more young people on the roads and the statistics say young people already make up most of the accidents."
Gavin Chamberlain, 32, from Newent, thinks giving some 16-year-olds responsibility would make them more confident on the roads.
"Allowing them onto the roads at that age could make them grow up and become more responsible so that could be a good thing."
Salina Faye, 33, from Tuffley, said 16-year-olds are too young to drive on the roads, even under supervision. "Some young people that age act like children and can't be trust behind the wheel, even under supervision it would be a danger to other drivers if they were allowed to drive," she said.