Do new and young drivers need more restrictions?

A vehicle is removed from a field following a fatal road accident on the Switchback Road

A vehicle is removed from a field following a fatal road accident on the Switchback Road

Have your say

A fatal accident near Peel has sparked calls from a member of the Isle of Man’s Legislative Council to consider restrictions on young drivers.

Geoff Corkish MLC is asking the Department of Infrastructure what measures are being looked at in relation to young or inexperienced drivers in the light of the accident on the Switchback road earlier this month.

Tony Wild MLC told members statistics showed by far the most accident-prone age group was that comprising people between 16 and 25, compared with drivers in any other age group, according to statistics recorded by the DoI between 2007 and 2012.

He added options were being considered by the DoI for reducing the risk associated with new drivers and proposals were to be put to public consulatation. Presentations in schools as well as road improvements at some known accident black spots had, he said, seen a reduction of 9.7 per cent in fatalities over the same period. In the current financial year - 2013-14 - presentations had continued to be given to Year 11 pupils, and facilities for pedestrians had been improved in Santon and the road was being ‘super-elevated’ to improve camber at Hilberry in response to an accident there.

Alex Downie said it could be worth following the lead of some other countries such as Australia where laws restrict the number of young people allowed to travel together with a young driver.

‘If we were having this conversation 25 years ago it would have been about the number of young men being killed in motorcycle accidents and because of measures taken on training and cc restrictions, motor cycle fatalities have reduced very significantly in the Isle of Man, so there is a salutory lesson to be learned in relation to young car drivers. In this incident we know there were a lot of young people in the car and sometimes in such circumstances they can egg each other on and the consequences can be tragic,’ he said, adding the key lay in persuading people to slow down.

MLCs noted there had been eight young people travelling in the car and that speed and inexperience seemed to have been factors in the accident, but Juan Turner MLC warned against legislating as a knee jerk reaction.

‘Many accidents occur inside existing speed limits which in some instances are breached,’ he said.

Around 375 vehicles use the Switchback road daily and the problem seemed to have been speed and inexperience, Mr Corkish said. Phil Braidwood favoured information being given on the dangers of overloading vehicles.

Dudley Butt MLC pointed out precise details of the accident, such as the speed of the car, were not yet known. He suggested looking at restrictions used in Australia or New Zealand, such as limits on night time driving.

Editor’s note: The Switchback incident is still the subject of a police investigation. We don’t want to publish any potentially prejudicial comments here, so we have removed the ability to comment on this story.

Our website is post-moderated. That means staff at Isle of Man Newspapers do not see comments before they are posted on the site. We rely on the good judgement of contributors before they comment and other contributors policing comments by using the ‘report abuse’ function.

Letters in the papers are obviously vetted before they are published.

If you have a view about young people’s standards of driving, please email

We will consider suitable letters for publication in print.

Back to the top of the page