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Government urged to reconsider whether to impose limits on new drivers

Eighty-eight drivers aged 17-24 died on Britain’s roads in 2019, with a further 1,234 seriously injured.

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Ministers have been urged to reconsider whether to impose limits on what new drivers can do on the road (Aaron Chown/PA)

Ministers have been urged to reconsider whether to impose limits on what new drivers can do on the road (Aaron Chown/PA)

Ministers have been urged to reconsider whether to impose limits on what new drivers can do on the road (Aaron Chown/PA)

Ministers have been urged to reconsider whether to impose limits on what new drivers can do on the road.

The Commons Transport Select Committee recommended that research into the consequences of graduated driving licences (GDLs) should resume, as there is evidence they can be “effective in reducing crash rates”.

GDLs place restrictions on drivers for a set time period after they pass their test, such as banning the carriage of passengers, curfews, lower alcohol limits and mandatory “P” plates.

We are asking the department to resume its researchCommittee chairman Huw Merriman

They are used in several countries including the US, Canada, Australia and Sweden.

The Department for Transport announced in July 2019 that it was considering introducing GDLs in England.

But the assessment was halted in autumn 2020, partly due to the potential impact of the licences on young people’s employment.

Officials are instead focused on the £2 million Driver2020 study being carried out by consultancy TRL, which is exploring how technology and education can be used to reduce crashes.

In its report on the safety of young and novice drivers, the committee stopped short of recommending that GDLs should be launched in England.

But it urged the DfT to work with the Northern Ireland Executive, which is expected to conduct a pilot scheme.

It also called on the department to publish a progress update on Driver2020 by July.

Eighty-eight drivers aged 17-24 died on Britain’s roads in 2019, with a further 1,234 seriously injured.

Tory MP Huw Merriman, who chairs the committee, said “fully equipping learner drivers for driving in different situations” will be “essential” to boosting safety.

He went on: “The committee balanced the current work of the department with the lack of evidence demonstrating the impact of GDL on the economic and social prospects of young people at this time, particularly in rural areas.

“The committee also took into account the need for young people to be given the freedom to drive without further restrictions being imposed upon them.

“However, we are asking the department to resume its research in this area.”

AA president Edmund King said: “We have always been supportive of elements of a graduated licensing system. A logbook, for instance, can help make sure learners experience different weather and daylight conditions.

“However, we have raised concerns about the social and economic implications for new drivers of a heavily restrictive system post-test and will be interested to see the results of the study.

“It is vitally important any changes that include post-test restrictions are thoroughly tested before being implemented.”

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