Petition calls on drivers who bully learners to face tougher penalties as four in five were abused
A petition calls for changes to the law that would mean tougher penalties for motorists who abuse learner drivers on the roads. It comes as figures show four in five learners – 81% – have experienced abuse and bullying from other road users while driving.
The statistics, gathered through a survey of more than 1,000 learner drivers and 400 driving instructors across the UK, are part of a new report. Behaviors reported as common on UK roads include tailgating (68%), dangerous overtaking (65%), beeping (59%) and cutting off (44%), with some drivers exiting cars to confront learners (4 %).
Meanwhile, 59% of driving instructors say abuse and bullying of learner drivers has increased since the start of the pandemic. Almost all – 99% – of driving instructors witnessed abuse directed at their students, with 61% of respondents reporting the most incidents at roundabouts and 32% at traffic lights.
The report was compiled by learner driver insurers Marmalade. The petition – on the UK government’s official website – says ministers should ‘make disregard for the safety of drivers displaying an L-plate an aggravating factor in the offenses of dangerous driving and reckless driving’.
More than 2,000 people had signed the petition Monday, June 6 at 2 p.m. If 10,000 signatures are reached, the government will issue a response, while 100,000 is the threshold to potentially trigger a debate in Parliament.
Chloe Hutchon, a learner driver from Fife in Scotland, said the abuse she suffered during her apprenticeship affected her confidence and kept her from driving for more than a year. “As a learner driver, I had many experiences of abuse while learning to drive, which really knocked my confidence and left me quite nervous and scared,” she said. declared.
“The most damaging experience was when I accidentally took the wrong exit from a busy roundabout. The driver behind me responded in such an abusive manner that it really shook me.
“The driver took the same exit as me and honked his horn for a good 40 seconds while driving very close to me and shouting profanity. The shame and embarrassment of this incident as well as general driving nerves gave me anxiety and can still put me in a bad frame of mind while driving, which can lead to more driving errors.
“I think there should be consequences for these actions because it is unfair that young people are regularly victims of this type of bullying. If you were to introduce fines and points, it would raise awareness and could help learners feel more comfortable driving.
Marmalade CEO Crispin Moger said, “This issue means a lot to us and is something we are extremely passionate about. This is something that affects the majority of our clientele, which means we have a responsibility to help.
“That is why we are asking for help from the government. Our research found that 54% of all respondents would support immediate fines for abuse, with 50% suggesting anger management classes and 35% supporting three penalty points.
“We are calling on the government to do more to prevent the bullying of learners on the road by introducing measures to impose tougher penalties on drivers who drive carelessly or dangerously around learner drivers. Everyone who drives has been a learner before, so they should be able to understand the struggles of learner drivers and feel compelled to help by signing this petition.