ABI's four-point plan to cut road deaths ruled out

The government has rejected calls to introduce a series of measures which would force younger drivers to take greater safety precautions on the road.

The ABI report, Young Drivers: Reducing Death on the Roads, released this week, called on the Department for Transport to bring in far reaching legislation aimed at cutting road deaths.

The four-point plan includes proposals to force a minimum learning period before the driving test and a structured learning programme for all new drivers.

But, speaking at the ABI's motor conference, the Minister of State for Transport, Stephen Ladyman, hit back at the industry. He said: "I am not convinced that further legislation is the answer to our problems."

Instead, he said, insurers should give greater incentives for learner drivers who take up a minimum learning period.

"The financial incentives need to be better," said Ladyman. "There is blackbox technology available. There could be a premium incentive to include a minimum learning period. Only three insurers offer lower premiums to drivers who take up the Pass Plus course. Where are the financial incentives?"

He added: "Most people drive responsibly. If premiums continue to rise we will see more illegality on the road. Legislating is looking at the problem from the wrong end of the telescope."

Ladyman also criticised insurers for using European statistics to support their arguments. "If you have evidence from the UK, we will consider the proposals."

Insurers could fund police to catch uninsured drivers
Insurers could pay the police to enforce laws on uninsured driving because government resources are tight, chief constable Meredydd Hughes, head of the Association of Chief Police Officers road policing unit, said.

Responding to calls for greater enforcement of the uninsured driving laws, Hughes said: "We do work for agencies because they pay us cash on top of what we get from government."

Stephen Hadrill, ABI director general, responded: "How do we know money will lead to additional policing?"

Hughes explained: "This is an opportunity to think about where we should put the money to be used at its best advantage. We would engage with you to discuss how we would spend the money."