A coroner today formally requested a lower speed limit for new drivers and compulsory ‘p’ plates after a teenager died in a speeding car driven by her boyfriend.
Coroner Michael Rose says youngsters who have just passed their driving test should be made to have the special plates – which are currently only optional.
He also says new drivers should also be restricted to speeds of 50mph or 60mph when travelling on 60/70mph roads, for a period of a year.
Mr Rose, coroner for West Somerset, made his recommendation after an inquest into the death of Bethany-Paige Adams, 17.
She was a passenger in a car driven by boyfriend Charlie Blandford-Corp, 18, who had only passed his driving test two-and-a half months earlier.
Blandford-Corp, of Minehead, was driving a Citroen Saxo car at speeds of up to 80mph on the A358 when he struck a tree near Crowcombe on January 7.
He had previously told Bethany’s mother that he would “drive carefully” – but she was killed instantly.
Mr Rose has now issued a statement calling for the Government to introduce a lower speed limit for new drivers and has written to the Minster of Transport.
He also says people who have just passed their test should be made to put a green ‘p’ plate on their car to let other drivers know they are inexperienced.
The coroner says if new drivers fail to adhere to the new laws, they should have six points added to their licence.
Mr Rose said: ”I held an inquest into the death of Bethany Paige Adams, a 17 year old girl who was killed near Williton, when the car in which she was a passenger and driven by a 17 year old recently qualified driver, went out of control.
“The accident being caused by excessive speed.
“Following the Inquest, I stated that I would consider making a request to the Minster of Transport to compel recently qualified drivers to carry a distinguishing letter on the car they were travelling and to restrict their speed to 50 mph on open roads and 60 mph on motorways for a period of 1 year and to enforce the law to consider imposing an obligatory 6 points penalty, meaning that if a driver was twice in breach of such regulations he/she would be banned from driving.
“I did however state that I would first write to the Department of Transport to ascertain the extent of the problem, and in particular find out how many accidents were caused by recently qualified drivers.
“Despite their assistance I have been unable to obtain such figures and wonder of they are kept although the statistics for 17-23 year old drivers reveal a large number of fatal and serious accidents.
“I have therefore decided to make a formal request to the Minster under rule 43, which gives enhanced powers to Coroners to prevent further deaths.
“It is hoped the Minster will accept my recommendations which, in themselves are not revolutionary, but merely bringing in restrictions that are already in place in a number of advanced nations.”
The inquest into Bethany-Paige’s death was held on October 2 and heard that on a drive a few weeks before she had told her boyfriend to slow down.
He was given an 18-month driving ban and suspended jail term after he admitted causing death by careless driving.
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