New drivers in Northern Ireland are facing tougher new laws to crack down on the number of young motorists killed or seriously injured on roads each year.

A graduated licence scheme has been on the cards for several years now, but it looks as if Northern Ireland is set to adopt the scheme from as early as 2019. If the scheme is successful, it could then be rolled out across the UK.

The first plan is for learner drivers under the age of 24 to have six months of statutory training before being granted a full licence.

Motorists will also have to display mandatory P plates, something that is currently optional, for two years after receiving their full licence.

Limits will also be placed on the number of young passengers they can carry at certain times. Any driver under the age of 24 will not be able to carry more than one passenger aged 14 to 20 between the hours of 11pm and 6am for six months after passing their test.

According to the Daily Mail, roads minister Jesse Norman had said in a letter to prominent road safety campaigner David Stewart MSP: “The Department for Transport has decided to use the introduction of GDL (graduated driving licence) in Northern Ireland as a pilot to gather evidence on the potential for GDL in Great Britain.”

It comes as shocking figures show that drivers between the age of 16 and 19 are a third more likely to die in a collision than those aged 40 to 49.

Figures from car breakdown service the AA have also revealed that one in four driver between the age of 18 and 24 has a crash within two years of passing their test.

Countries such as Sweden, Australia and New Zealand already operate graduated licencing scheme for new drivers.