New Graduated Driving Licences launched to tackle ‘overconfident’ young drivers

New Graduated Driving Licences launched to tackle ‘overconfident’ young drivers
Labour MP Kim Leadbeater has introduced a new bill in Parliament that is designed to cut down on the number of deaths and injuries on our roads – primarily targeting ‘overconfident’ young drivers.

Under the proposed 'Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (New Drivers) Bill’, the new law would create Graduated Driving Licences (GDLs) – and has already received cross-party support and industry support.

A GDL is a system implemented by many countries around the world, where they are in place to help new drivers gain experience gradually.

The proposed Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (New Drivers) Bill would introduce a number of restrictions for newly qualified drivers for the first six months, including a zero-alcohol limit and controls over the number of young passengers allowed.

The purpose of GDLs is to reduce the risks associated with inexperienced drivers, such as accidents and fatalities on the roads, which in 2022 totalled 29,742 in the UK. Around a fifth of these involved a young driver.

Typically, a graduated licensing program consists of several stages, each with its own requirements and restrictions. For example, in the initial stage, new drivers must be supervised by a licensed and experienced adult.

As they progress through the stages, they may gain more privileges, such as driving unsupervised during certain hours or with a limited number of passengers. Finally, after completing all requirements, they are granted a full driver's licence.

In New Zealand, where a similar scheme has been introduced, there has been a 23% reduction in car collision injuries for 15–19 year olds, and a 12% reduction for 20–24 year olds.

Kim Leadbeater was inspired to address the issue of graduated driving licences after meeting Dr Ian Greenwood at Westminster with the West Yorkshire Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Alison Lowe. Dr Greenwood, from Halifax, lost his 12-year old daughter Alice when the car her mother was driving was hit in 2008. The 18-year old driver of the other car and his 16-year old passenger were also killed.

Graduated Driving Licences are backed by many road safety and other organisations including the RAC.

RAC road safety spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “The tragic statistics speak for themselves. Young drivers, especially men, are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured on our roads, so 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.”

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