Driving laws could see young motorists banned from having passengers


Young drivers who have recently passed their test could be stopped from carrying younger passengers in their vehicle under a new driving licence scheme. The plan to introduce a “graduated driving licence” will be considered by Transport Minister Richard Holden at a road safety meeting on May 16.

This new scheme would look to clamp down on drivers under 25 carrying passengers who are also under the age of 25 in the first six months or year after passing their test.

There are proposals to amend the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act, which currently puts restrictions on new motorists.

If someone who has recently passed their test collects six or more penalty points on their driving licence in their first two years of driving, they will lose their licence.

Drivers under the age of 25 are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash if they are driving with other people in the car, according to road safety charity Brake.

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The move is being backed by the Support for Victims of Road Crashes organisation, an advisory committee to the Department for Transport, The Times reported.

Seb Goldin, CEO of RED Driver Training, believes that whilst young drivers rely on the freedom that driving provides and graduated driving licencing could restrict this, safety is always the priority.

A probationary period for a young driver who is more likely to be involved in an accident would put safety at the forefront for all road users.

He added: “At RED, we will always prioritise safety, which is why we guarantee that our driving instructors only take learner drivers to test when they are fully ready, with the aim that they are significantly prepared for a life of driving after passing their test.

“However, data shows that younger drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash when driving with peers than when on their own – a driving situation which is very common when a young driver first passes their test – displaying a significant risk and one we cannot ignore.”

There were previous plans to boost road safety were rejected, which would have seen curfews placed on younger drivers.

These proposals were ultimately rejected because of fears this could have led to issues with young people’s employment and freedom of movement.

Experts have also pointed out the backlash that this could have brought, with driving being one of the key freedoms for people who have recently passed their test.

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Mr Goldin added: “We know that people of all ages rely on the freedom that driving provides, and graduated driving licencing risks placing restrictions on this.

“However, data shows that in countries where Graduated Driving Licencing is in effect, it is being received well and, in an environment where incidents on our roads are commonplace, taking steps to reduce the risks of death and serious injuries is a protocol we support.

“Road safety remains our ultimate concern, and this probationary period for drivers who are more likely to be involved in an incident allows us to prioritise this even further.”

The under 25 age group is responsible for fewer collisions than those in the 85 and older category, prompting further concerns.

The new plans also have the backing of Jo Shiner, road policing spokesperson on the National Police Chiefs’ Council, who said she was “very openly a supporter”.

Restrictions for those under the age of 25 can already be seen around the world, including in Australia and New Zealand.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Every death or serious injury on our roads is a tragedy and we continue to work tirelessly to improve road safety for all users.

“Our approach to improving safety for new and novice drivers is through new technology and improving education, while reinforcing vital road safety messages through our Think! campaign,” they told The Times.



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