Interior Minister Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba confirmed last week that the Traffic Authority is considering allowing 16 and 17 year olds to drive as long as they are accompanied by an adult and had passed the written exam. At present, learners can only drive during their lessons. He said the government was keeping an eye on a pilot programme in France and if the results were positive it would be tried out here. Learner drivers are allowed to drive in several countries, including the US and the UK, when accompanied by a licence-holding adult. Sr Rubalcaba said a Traffic Authority report revealed last week that 16,600 drivers have lost, or are within one point of losing, their licences since the points system was introduced last July. He also reported that 1,017 people have died in road accidents in the first six months of this year, a figure he described as frightening, but noted that this was 20% lower than the figure for the same period last year.


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