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LET'S BAN ALL PASSENGERS; EXCLUSIVE STOP THE CARNAGE Police chief demands new drivers travel solo to slash road holocaust.

Byline: By LESLEY ROBERTS

SCOTLAND'S top traffic officer has called for new drivers to be banned from carrying passengers in their first year.

John Vine claimed young drivers are more likely to show off by driving dangerously when they have friends with them.

The Tayside Chief Constable believes the drastic measure would cut the appalling number of young drivers dying on our roads.

Having two passengers almost doubles the danger of a fatal crash and three passengers trebles the risk of death.

Young male drivers are now the biggest killer of young women in the UK. Female victims are often the passengers in a novice driver car crash.

Vine, who will host a Young Driver Summit with Executive ministers on Thursday, said: "There's a direct correlation between drivers carrying passengers and their likelihood of being in a fatal accident.

"I suspect the 'showing off' factor comes into play. When they've got passengers in the car they very often find themselves showing off to their friends.

"Sadly, those same friends often end up as accident statistics. We have to try to get these young men - and it is largely male drivers we're talking about - to realise they're not invincible."

Vine has three teenage children including an 18-year-old son who has just passed his test.

The chief constable supports the Sunday Mail's campaign to have Pass Plus advanced driving lessons extended across Scotland. The pounds 150 course has been taken by young drivers for pounds 15 under a pilot scheme in the north-east.

And he wants a new graduated licence system, whereby new drivers would not be allowed to have passengers and would be restricted to a small engine size. He is determined to try to prevent the kind of carnage that claimed the lives of learner driver David Craib, 17, and his friend Shaun Birnie, 16.

They died last month after their car smashed into a tree near their homes in Turriff, Aberdeenshire.

The week before three friends from Fife - driver Ally Caird, 21, James Rankin, 21, and 20-year-old David Rodger - were killed instantly when the car they were in careered off the road.

Of the 129 people who died on the roads in the first six months of this year, 45 were aged 25 or under. That's a 28 per cent rise on last year and amounts to almost two lives lost a week.

Vine will be joined at the summit in Perth by Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson.

The panel also includes Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Michael McDonnell, of Road Safety Scotland, Commissioner for Young People Kathleen Marshall, Dr Steve Lawson, of the Road Safety Foundation, and Jane Greer, of the Institute of Road Safety Officers.

2 LOST DRIVERS..3 LOST FRIENDS

Tragic: Driver David Craib, 17, was killed after his car hit a tree

Victim: David's pal Shaun Birnie, 16, also died in the crash

Loss: Driver Ally Caird, 21, died after his car went off the road

Dead: James Rankin, 21, was a passenger in Ally's car

Killed: David Rodger, 20, was also in Ally's smashed car

SUNDAY EMAIL

l.roberts@sundaymail.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Crackdown: Chief Constable John Vine is heading panel of experts to cut the carnage Picture: ALAN RICHARDSON; David Craib; Shaun Birnie; Ally Caird; James Rankin; David Rodger
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 2, 2007
Words:549
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