Free licences for drivers over 25: researcher

The Local Sweden
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Free licences for drivers over 25: researcher

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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