Legislature looks to asses driving restrictions for new drivers

Source: Intelligent Instructor

GDL Bill introduced to Parliament

Legislature looks to asses driving restrictions for new drivers

A new bill has been introduced to Parliament, calling for the introduction of Graduated Driving Licences (GDLs).

The idea is to impose restrictions on new drivers to curb and reduce young driver crashes.

It comes after weeks of lobbying by road safety professionals and parents of victims.

Gentle introductions

Under the proposed law, newly qualified drivers would face six months of restrictions.

These would include restrictions on the number of young passengers they are allowed to carry, as well as a zero limit for blood alcohol content.

Other constraints may also be implemented, although flexibility and exemptions may exist for work, medical and emergencies.



Mounting toll

The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (New Drivers) Bill was introduced to Parliament by Kim Leadbeater, Labour MP for Batley and Spen.

It’s a proposal with cross-party support from MPs and is due for a second reading on 17 May.

According to government statistics, there were 29,429 people killed or seriously injured on the roads between June 2022 and June 2023.

Just over a fifth of the fatalities were of people aged between 17 and 29 years old.

Statistics from the year prior show male drivers aged between 17 to 24 are four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash compared with those aged 25 or over.

“Many of us will remember being new drivers,” commented Leadbetter when introducing her Bill. “Inexperience, the lack of confidence or, sometimes, sadly often amongst younger men, the overconfidence.”

She continued, “We must never forget that behind [that] statistic there are thousands of lives, right across the country, grieving or going through unimaginable pain. Lives changed forever and families torn apart by tragic and often avoidable collisions.”

Long time coming

Graduated driving licences are not new and are not supported by only one MP.

In 2021, the Commons’ Transport Select Committee called on the government to implement such a scheme as evidence showed it would be “effective in reducing crash rates”.

It has been introduced successfully in several other countries for over a decade, providing informative data on how it has worked and potential benefits.

The bill is also backed by the AA and RAC, the Association of British Insurers and the UK Road Offender Education (UKROEd).

Only last month calls were made for MPs to support GDLs to “save the lives of young drivers.”

RAC road safety spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “It’s high time a renewed focus was given to reducing casualties. Families up and down the country who have lost sons and daughters far too soon are looking for something to change, and graduated driving licences could well be the answer.”

“Passing the practical driving test is the very first step in anyone’s driving career, but there remains so much more to learn to become a safe, proficient and confident driver. We call on MPs to back this Bill and set the wheels in motion in creating legislation that has the potential to save lives.”



Theory and practice

However, the bill has its critics, including the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD).

Speaking to the media, spokesperson Ian Taylor says that the proposed legislation prioritises “more restriction over positive innovation.”

He raises concerns about how such restrictions may be implemented and believes that “Practice Makes Perfect” is a better approach to the issue than more restrictive legislation.

Taylor says that when it comes to driving, “better driver training from the start” and “education in road safety” are the keys to solving the issue.

Unfortunately, such ideas and campaigns have failed to deliver any reductions in young driver-affected casualties figures.

2024-05-18T11:59:55+00:0018 May 2024|
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