Danish teen driving experiment a success so far

Youngsters involved in few accidents during first year

A trial programme started a year ago allowing 17-year-olds in Denmark to get a driving licence has been a great success thus far.

Since the programme was put in place, over 15,000 young Danes have successfully earned a driving licence. According to Tryg – Denmark’s largest insurer, covering over one fifth of policyholders – 17-year-olds have only been involved in four accidents since the new law took effect on January 1, and the young drivers were only at fault in two of those.

“These are great numbers that bode well for the future,” Tryg spokesperson Mogens Olesen told Metro Express. “We are very positive about the scheme.”

No drinking allowed, even on the shotgun side
Newly-minted drivers are required to have an experienced driver along as a passenger until they reach 18-years-old, which seems to be helping keep the rookie motorists out of accident statistics. All 17-year-old drivers must be accompanied in the vehicle by a driver with a a minimum of 10 years of experience behind the wheel and who is at least 30-years-old. The companion must be ready to intervene at any time and are subject to the same drug and alcohol requirements as if they themselves were driving.

The trial programme was originally scheduled for three years, but Olesen thinks the positive numbers so far will insure that it will continue.

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“I do not think these numbers are coincidental,” he said. “I am convinced that it has a huge preventive effect that a parent is sitting next to when driving a car which allows you to gain experience as a motorist in a safer environment, and parents have shown that they take this responsibility very seriously.”

The price of a driving course in Denmark is typically between 12,000 and 14,000 kroner.