New drivers could face 'restrictions' under proposed law change

A motoring expert has issued a warning to drivers about potential 'restrictions' following a proposed law change. The new bill, currently under consideration in Parliament, was introduced by Labour MP Kim Leadbeater.

Despite being the brainchild of an opposition member, it has already garnered cross-party and industry support. The primary objective of the proposed Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (New Drivers) Bill is to establish Graduated Driving Licences (GDLs) to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the roads, particularly focusing on young drivers who may be overly confident in their abilities.

According to the RAC, GDLs are already in place in many countries worldwide. If passed into law, the new bill would impose several restrictions on new drivers during their first six months of driving, including a zero-alcohol limit and a cap on the number of young passengers they can carry.

A GDL would likely consist of several stages, potentially starting with supervision by a licensed and experienced driver. Later stages could require accompaniment when driving at certain times of the day. Once they have completed the stages, they receive a full licence.

Car expert Darren Miller from commented on the new legislation, stating: "The introduction of graduated driving licences (GDLs) presents a proactive approach to enhancing road safety, particularly for new drivers. By imposing restrictions on elements like the number of passengers and alcohol consumption, this bill aims to tackle the alarming statistics related to young driver accidents."

He highlighted concerning figures, noting: "Previous statistics have shown that a significant portion of road fatalities involve young drivers, with male drivers aged 17 to 24 being four times more likely to be involved in accidents compared to older age groups. Additionally, government data reveals that between June 2022 and June 2023, there were 29,429 people killed or seriously injured on the roads, with over a fifth of the fatalities occurring among individuals aged between 17 and 29 years old."

Miller also addressed potential concerns about the GDLs, saying: "The proposal to implement GDLs will naturally lead to discussions about balancing individual freedoms with public safety. While some may argue that young drivers need flexibility for employment and education, it's vital to recognise the potential life-saving benefits of such measures. Road safety should remain a top priority, and measures like GDLs offer a structured way to prepare all drivers, regardless of age, and help them be confident behind the wheel.

"Stats from countries like Canada, where GDL systems are in place, suggest that these measures can contribute to safer roads. These systems typically mandate restrictions such as curfews and supervision requirements, allowing new drivers to gain experience gradually.

"While there may be concerns about the impact on young drivers' freedoms, prioritising road safety is important. The ultimate goal is to instil responsible driving habits early on, to reduce the risk of accidents and save lives.

"Considering the tragic stories of road fatalities, particularly among young people, we need to reevaluate our approach to road safety. Implementing GDLs could be a significant step forward in safeguarding lives on our roads."

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