Young drivers could be banned from the road at night under plans to improve safety, the Department for Transport has announced. Figures show that a fifth are involved in an accident during their first year behind the wheel, and ministers are considering introducing a graduated licence system for novice drivers in England. The scheme could
Young drivers could be banned from the road at night under plans to improve safety, the Department for Transport has announced. Figures show that a fifth are involved in an accident during their first year behind the wheel, and ministers are considering introducing a graduated licence system for novice drivers in England.
The scheme could feature a series of restrictions, such as a minimum learning period, not driving at night and not driving with passengers under a certain age. The DfT did not reveal how long the measures would remain in place once someone had passed their driving test.
Under current rules, new drivers have their licences revoked if they accumulate six penalty points within the first two years. But there are no restrictions on when people can drive or the age of their passengers.
The road safety minister, Michael Ellis, said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world, but we are always looking at ways to make them safer. Getting a driving licence is exciting for young people, but it can also be daunting, as you’re allowed to drive on your own for the first time.
“We want to explore in greater detail how graduated driver licensing, or aspects of it, can help new drivers to stay safe and reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads.”
Graduated licensing schemes already operate in several parts of the world, including New York and California in the US; Ontario and British Columbia in Canada; New South Wales and Victoria in Australia; and Sweden.
They have previously been rejected in Britain over concerns that they would restrict young people from accessing education and employment. But the DfT is giving serious consideration to how the system could work as part of its Road Safety Action Plan, which will be published on Friday. Any changes to licensing would be consulted on before being introduced.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for the road safety charity Brake, said: “Newly qualified drivers, particularly young males, are a high road safety risk and much of this can be put down to lack of experience and overconfidence. We must do all we can to keep young drivers safe and this starts with making our licensing process more robust.”
Nick Lloyd, acting head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said: “RoSPA welcomes this trial and believes that it will allow young drivers to gain valuable experience, while reducing the risks associated with night-time driving and the carrying of multiple passengers.”
AA president Edmund King said: “For many people, excessive post-test restrictions could negate the purpose of them having a driving licence in the first place – such as driving to work on early or late shifts when public transport is not convenient.
“This is why any post-test restrictions must be properly researched and piloted first to ensure they do not place an unnecessary burden on new drivers.”