The majority of British drivers back the introduction of a mandatory 12-month learning period for new drivers, according to research published this week. A study of more than 2,000 drivers by IAM RoadSmart, the trading name of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) road safety charity, found almost seven in 10 drivers supported the idea.

More specifically, 68 percent of respondents said they would like to see a rule introduced whereby learners would have to undergo “at least a year’s training” and supervised practice before being allowed to take their practical test. The proposal the respondents were supporting also suggested these rules would apply no matter how old the learner in question.

The study also found 65 percent of those quizzed would support drivers being encouraged to take extra training after they have passed their test. It’s a view that’s particularly strong among younger drivers, with 71 percent of those aged 17 to 49 supporting the idea.

Driving instructors car with the learner driving in Portsmouth Hampshire UK

The research comes after the government committed to investigate potential ‘graduation’ of new drivers’ licences in a bid to improve safety. Such a move would see restrictions imposed on new drivers during the first few years of their driving careers. That investigation included a look into 12-month learning periods, but the IAM says the government is yet to offer any “firm conclusions” on the matter.

As a result, the organisation is calling on the government to take action, citing evidence presented to the recent House of Commons Transport Committee Inquiry into Young and Novice Drivers, as well as the results of this survey. The charity wants graduated licences to be implemented, claiming it would be a “crucial step forward” to improve road safety.

“The government must listen to the concerns of the vast majority of motorists who clearly understand the long-term safety benefits that a 12-month minimum learning period for all new drivers would bring,” said Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart’s director of policy and research. “A lifetime of safe driving starts by gaining the right experience behind the wheel. Even the Government’s own statistics show that one in five new drivers crash within their first year on the road, so a longer learning period can only help make our roads safer for all road users.”

“Lessons learnt at the start of your driving career can pay dividends and if new drivers had longer to experience all road types, in all weathers and at all times of the day and night before their test, the benefits can only increase. Experienced license holders need to update their observation, anticipation and planning skills too, to ensure they remain safe throughout their driving and riding careers.”

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