Graduated licensing

Prime Minister calls for Department for Transport to look into graduated licensing systems

Prime Minister Theresa May has called for the Department of Transport to look into introducing graduated driving licences (GDLs) for young drivers in a bid to tackle high accident rates among 17-24 year olds.

The announcement comes after Jenny Chapman, MP for Darlington, challenged May during Prime Ministers Questions. Chapman asked if a graduated licence system would be introduced in light of figures illustrating that a quarter of new drivers are involved in and accident within two years of passing their test. Chapman also highlighted that 400 deaths or serious injuries on UK roads annually involve new drivers.

Research previously conducted by Transport Research Laboratories (TRL) commissioned by the DfT, has indicated that GDLs could be highly beneficial, saving 4,471 casualties and £224 million each year.

This research suggested that a new training regime for learner drivers could be beneficial. It recommends 100 hours of supervised daytime and 20 hour of night-time driving before current theory and practical tests could be taken. The study also recommended a 12-month probationary period for new motorists following successful driving tests.

GDLs for young drivers are already successfully in place in various countries. These schemes involve restrictions on new licence holders such as limits on the number and age of passengers the licence holder can carry, the hours of the day they can drive and requirements to be accompanied by a more experienced driver.

The RAC say that the introduction of would be a positive step towards improving road safety and one that they would welcome greatly. Pete Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said “The RAC has been calling for a reform of driving education for young people and the introduction of graduated driving licences with a minimum supervised learning period and restrictions on the number of passengers permitted in the car so this is a very positive step towards preventing the loss of young lives on our roads.”

The RAC also urge for more education for young drivers as well as increasing the restrictions on new motorists in the first two years. Williams added, “The RAC’s Report on Motoring showed that 35% of young drivers felt the standard driving test does not cover all the skills required to cope with the demands of driving today, so clearly we should be exploring how to improve the learning experience.”

Williams also suggested that restrictions would also benefit younger drivers by helping lower insurance premiums and bringing the cost of getting on the road down significantly.

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