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New drivers could face probationary period if new licence gets go ahead

First-time drivers may be prohibited from driving at night if plans for a probationary licence are approved by ministers.

Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday said that the Department for Transport (DfT) would review a case for a “graduated” licence that would limit young drivers depending on experience.

The review comes amid concerns at the high proportion of accidents that young drivers are involved in not long after passing their tests.

Government figures show that young drivers (aged 17 to 24) are involved in more than a quarter of accidents that result in death or serious injury, yet the age group makes up just seven per cent of total licence holders.

The proposed scheme would see drivers being restricted during a probationary period, likely to be between one and two years. This includes a night-time driving ban, as well as restrictions on the number of passengers a new driver would be able to carry in a vehicle.

The system will also cover learner drivers, with the proposals including a statutory 12-month learning period – a system that has been proposed before.

Other countries including New Zealand and Australia already have such measures in place.

The PM’s pledge came after Darlington MP Jenny Chapman called for a new system for young drivers during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday.

Theresa May said: “There are too many people who suffer a loss and tragedy at the hands of learner drivers and we will look at that.”

Reforms have been made to driving test recently to modernise it. This includes satellite navigation driving and bay parking on the opposite side of the road. Learners in dual-controlled cars will also soon be able to drive on motorways, although no date has been announced for this.

Theresa May’s comments were welcomed by road safety groups.

Phillip Gomm, spokesman for the RAC Foundation, said: “A central part of a graduated system is limiting newly qualified drivers’ exposure to risk during the first crucial 1,000 miles of motoring, while recognising that being able to drive is a key requirement for many jobs and educational opportunities.”

Ted Welford

By

February 8, 2018

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