Driving licence changes set to affect millions as some say 'it's time'

Driving licence changes could soon be on the horizon, with proposals to 'impose restrictions' on younger drivers potentially affecting millions. MPs and safety organisations are pressing the Government to take action in a bid to reduce road accidents and fatalities.

The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (New Drivers) Bill was introduced to Parliament on Tuesday, receiving support from various political parties. The bill suggests a graduated driving licence system that would impose certain restrictions on newly-qualified drivers during their first six months on the road, aiming to ensure the safety of those who lack extensive driving experience.

Restrictions under consideration include a mandatory zero-alcohol level, a cap on the number of passengers allowed in the car, and restrictions on driving at night.

Labour MP Kim Leadbeater is championing the proposed legislation, emphasising that the aim is not to limit young people's freedom but to improve road safety.

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Addressing fellow MPs in the Commons, the representative for Batley and Spen remarked: "This is where I believe we can take immediate action to increase safety on our roads. The Bill I am presenting today would place restrictions on newly qualified drivers for the first six months immediately after they pass their test, following consultation.

"Substantial evidence shows that, during that time, drivers are statistically much more likely to be involved in a collision, often with devastating consequences."

Graduated driving licence schemes, which have been implemented globally to enhance road safety and boost driver confidence, could soon be introduced in the UK.

Ms Leadbeater cited evidence from New Zealand where such a scheme led to a 23 per cent reduction in car collisions for those aged between 15 and 19, and a 12 per cent drop for drivers between 20 and 24.

The MP was moved to propose these measures after her colleague, Dr Ian Greenwood, tragically lost his 12 year old daughter, Alice, in a crash involving an inexperienced 18 year old driver. Key stakeholders including the AA, RAC, the Association for British Insurers (ABI) and charities like Project EDWARD - Every Day Without A Road Death, have thrown their weight behind the proposals.

RAC road safety spokesperson, Rod Dennis, commenting on the new bill, suggested that urgent changes were needed to help reduce the number of dangerous accidents. He added: "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."

The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (New Drivers) Bill will see its second reading come May 17.

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