Young drivers could have to wait until they are 18 before they are allowed to take their driving test under proposals being considered by the Government.
The move is aimed at cutting the number of people killed and injured in accidents on Britain’s roads.
Figures show more than a fifth of deaths in 2011 involved drivers aged 17 to 24, and around 10 per cent of novice drivers are caught committing an offence within their probationary period.
The Government-commissioned report by the Transport Research Laboratory suggests learner drivers will still be granted provisional licences at the age of 17. But they will have to complete a 12-month ‘learner stage’ that would require drivers to clock up at least 100 hours of daytime and 20 hours of night-time supervised practice.
For the first year, newly-qualified drivers would be hit by a curfew running between 10pm and 5am unless they were carrying a passenger aged over 30, as well as a ban on carrying anyone younger than that age if they were under it themselves.
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Young drivers drive around five per cent of all the miles driven in Britain, but are involved in about 20 per cent of the crashes where someone is killed or seriously injured.
“We are committed to improving safety for young drivers and reducing their insurance costs – that is why we are publishing a Green Paper later in the year.”
Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Our own research shows that putting certain restrictions on young drivers allows them to rapidly build up live-saving experience in the safest possible way.
“But the evidence suggests that a full package of measures could reduce fatalities by anything up to 60 per cent. We should all have an interest in preserving young drivers’ lives rather than exposing them to undue risk at the stage of their driving careers where they are most vulnerable.”
AA president Edmund King said although many of the proposals in the report had ‘merit’, he questioned some of the recommendations.
“Road safety on the national curriculum is something we have long campaigned for,” he said. “However, at the extreme end this report could be seen as just recommending taking novice drivers off the road by regulation and restriction rather than helping them develop the right attitudes and skills.”