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Free licences for drivers over 25: researcher

Free licences for drivers over 25: researcher

Published: 01 Nov 2012 14:54 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Nov 2012 14:54 GMT+01:00

Swedes who apply for their driver’s licence after turning 25 should get it for free, a researcher has proposed, arguing that the move would reduce traffic deaths by encouraging young people to wait to get their licences.

“If you take a look at the injuries then maybe it would be beneficial for society to give free driver's licences to those who wait until they’re 25,” researcher Ulf Björnstig of Umeå University told the TT news agency.

“It would be an incentive to wait.”

In Sweden, drivers under the age of 25 are over represented in traffic accidents and injuries, statistics that Björnstig argued could be improved.

“When the economy was bad in the nineties, very few young people got their licences and the death statistics sank immediately.”

Björnstig, who works as a plastic surgeon but has been researching traffic accidents, stressed that the prospective rule changes wouldn’t alter any current laws.

Rather, young people would be rewarded for waiting, and therefore would save society the expenses that come hand in hand with younger drivers.

The reason young Swedes are involved in so many accidents can be put down to an underdeveloped brain and the difficulty of overcoming peer pressure, said Nils-Petter Gregersen, research head at the Swedish National Road and Transport Institute (Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut -VTI), to the Västerbottens-Kuriren newspaper.

Björnstig pointed to foreign countries with stricter rules on young drivers as examples of how regulations can improve both accident and drunk driving statistics.

He argued in favour of countries such as the US, where young motorists have curfews and other youths are forbidden from being in the car with other young drivers.

TT/The Local/og

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Your comments about this article

15:44 November 1, 2012 by Mb 65
What makes you think a 25 year on the road would be more safer. A better way is that they must pass their motorbike test first which teaches you road conditions and looking ahead for any danger.
15:57 November 1, 2012 by cupidcub
Certainly a 25 year old has a much mature brain than a 20 year old.

I appreciate this policy.
16:03 November 1, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
What makes them think a 25 year old is safer? Statistics. It has been statistically proven that under 25 year-olds are involved per capita in more wrecks than 25 and up. Hence why in most western countries your insurance rates drop drastically after 25.
16:10 November 1, 2012 by Gambrinus2002
The problem is not the age. It's rather that there are people driving around in the whole country that DON'T have a licence. Every car / motobike with an "Övningskör" sign is a potential risk to everybody else.
16:56 November 1, 2012 by Just_Kidding
Age is not a direct cause. It is driving experience. People master the skills needed for driving a car after years of driving. They often become best drivers after buying their own car and using it to go to work. The accumulation of the experience happens after years of driving, not after a certain age. The author should do some experiments and prove that drivers who start learning driving after the age of 25 are better that those who get their licenses at 18. I doubt there would be a considerable difference.
17:11 November 1, 2012 by Decedo
Yeah like so many have said, it's not age but experience. It would be a joke for a noob driver to walk in and get a free licence when he/she turns 25. Whoever thought of this needs to give their head a shake. I've seen so many 'mature' swedes that drive like idiots.
17:47 November 1, 2012 by Gambrinus2002
...maybe because they learn from an "idiot" on the passenger seat, driving around on some parking lots or in the wilderness. Instead of having a real driving instructor and mandatory highway-, night- and bad-weather lessions.
18:00 November 1, 2012 by qwerty14
It's a good idea, but these drivers must get enough experience.

How much cost get driver licence?

I live in Russia, cost of learning to get for driving licence about 1000-1500$

I think that situation on roads of your country is no bad.

Most crashes in russia happened caused by drunk drivers: (
21:36 November 1, 2012 by Abe L
#5 pretty much hit the nail on the head, it's all about experience.

Sweden doesn't need more people with a license however. Not until the massive lack of road capacity and the current absurdly low speed limits have been fixed.
22:11 November 1, 2012 by dizzymoe33
It is an interesting idea, but what the teenagers need is experience with their driving skills. They say a person in their 40's/50's have the best driving skills and reflexes than a younger person or older person. But a person who is in their 60's and up in age have the better driving experience. In the US we are allowed to start driving at age 15 1/2 years old but we must have a person who is 21 years or older with at least 5 years of driving experience in the car with us at all times.
02:09 November 2, 2012 by bira
"He argued in favour of countries such as the US, where young motorists have curfews and other youths are forbidden from being in the car with other young drivers." Somewhat "interesting" argument since those restrictions do NOT apply to you once you're 18 which is the age at which you can get a license in Sweden (unless that has changed since I moved away).
17:47 November 2, 2012 by karex
Interesting idea. I also agree that experience is a major factor but I believe not the only one. Statistics show that age does matter, but if you look into them, you will see that most accident cases in this age group are cause by male drivers. This points to a different cause. I expect that emotional maturity plays a large role which of course would affect both genders to a point, as well as hormones, now here's a difference between the genders. Some younger drivers have a hard time controlling their aggressiveness and turn into dangers to society behind the wheel of a car. I know of at least one country that in addition to requiring the written and practical exams, also (at least in some states) require a psychological test to grant a license. They try to keep the maniacs off the roads. No experience in the world will make you a better/safer driver when you consider your car to be an outlet for aggressive expression.
10:59 November 3, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

It does not matter how old you are when you start driving if you are not taught to drive defensively. It is simply: Think always what the driver of the other cars will do before you decide what to do.

An small example: A red light indicates that the driver MUST stop to let those who have a green light to move on. But, many drivers DO NOT stop at the red light; they continue and someone will crash with them.

In Sweden, --I have been told--- It does not matter if it is raining, snowing, icy or whatever on the streets, roads or highways. You will always have an idiot behind you blinking his lights so you move

and let him pass. If you do not move, because you have a big trailer on your right side, he does not care. He continues driving one meter behind you and molesting with his horn and/or with the hight beam.

Driving is a matter of education, practice and experience. It is not a matter of price. Who can assure that a 25 year-old driver will drive better than a 70 year-old grandmother?

"The reason young Swedes are involved in so many accidents can be put down to an underdeveloped brain and the difficulty of overcoming peer pressure, said Nils-Petter Gregersen, research head at the Swedish National Road and Transport Institute".

I can say that researchers like Gregersen are the ones who can be put down to an underdeveloped brain and the difficulty of thinking with common sense. They just simply does not enjoy it.
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