The Government is exploring a potential Graduated Driving Licence, which would see new drivers under the age of 24 facing serious restrictions. For two years after passing the driving test, they would:
• Not be able to drive after dark or drive cars with larger engines
• Not be able to drink alcohol before driving because of a lowered drink drive limit
• Have to take another test at the end of the two-year probation period.
The proposals are part of a push to tackle the number of deaths that occur on UK roads each year with 17-24 year-olds responsible for a quarter of all accidents that lead to death or serious injury.
The Prime Minister has stated that, “there are too many people who suffer a loss and tragedy at the hands of learner drivers and we will look at that”. While we suspect she means new drivers, not learner drivers who are supervised by a professional instructor or suitable adult, the Graduated Driving Licence still has serious ramifications for drivers who have just qualified.
But could there be a silver lining if the Graduated Driver Licensing proposal is given the green light? New drivers currently spend up to 10% of their earnings keeping their car insured but experts believe that the new style license could drive down insurance costs.
The idea behind these new plans is clear, and these measures should result in safer roads for all. While it may initially feel like a harsh restriction for new drivers, it’s worth considering that these limitations on their licences should reduce their insurance risk profiles, which could ultimately see the cost of their insurance reduce significantly.”
– Simon McCulloch, comparethemarket.com
The idea of a Graduated Driving Licensing system isn’t as outlandish as it might first seem either and would actually bring the UK in line with other countries such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand where drivers are unable to drive at night or drive with passengers who are under the age 25 unless there is someone older supervising. And according to Brake, the road safety charity, the changes can’t come soon enough.
“Young and novice drivers are involved in a disproportionate number of road crashes and the introduction of a comprehensive Graduated Driver Licensing system is critical to reverse this trend,” said a spokesperson for the charity. “Brake is calling upon the Government to bring the UK’s licensing system in line with best practice worldwide, requiring a minimum of 10 hours professional tuition for learner drivers and introducing a novice licence, with restrictions in place for two years after passing the practical driving test.”
With the new driving test plus stricter penalties for mobile use when driving, it’s clear that the Government is determined to cut road deaths on UK roads – the question is are the new proposals going too far?