Passing your driving theory test and practical exam is unlikely to give you all the privileges of being a driver in the future. Not for the first time, graduated driving licences for new motorists are back on the agenda. What’s all the fuss about and what will a graduated driving licence scheme mean for new drivers?
For several years the government has been ‘toing and froing’ about whether to introduce graduated driving licences for new drivers in Britain. Now, Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that the Department for Transport (DfT) will look into a graduated licencing scheme.
Road safety groups are putting pressure on the government to introduce graduated licences, which Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and some parts of the USA already have in place.
What Will a Graduated Licencing Scheme Involve? Despite passing a driving theory test and practical exam, new drivers could be banned from driving between certain night-time hours, having the number of passengers they can transport, limited and forced to display a special ‘new driver’ plate for the first two years of driving.
Road safety groups back the idea of a curfew on night-time driving. However, several car insurance companies believe that a mandatory ‘black box’ insurance scheme for the first two years of driving would be a better solution.
It’s not yet crystal clear what restrictions newly qualified drivers could face, but the push for graduated licencing comes as a result of young drivers’ rotten accident record within the first two years of passing a driving test.
Road Accident Rogues
Official DfT data reveals that one in four young drivers is involved in an accident within their first two years behind the wheel, while 400 young people reportedly die in road accidents
every year. In fact, road accidents are the biggest killer of young people in the UK, claiming the lives of more under 25s than knife crime or drugs!
Every year, the death toll among young people on Britain’s roads is rising. The most recent figures, released for 2016, show that 1,800 youngsters died, while 24,000 suffered serious injury.
Road safety groups have been urging the government to introduce graduated licencing for years, but discussions have so far amounted to nothing. IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said: “Too many young drivers pass the practical test unprepared for the road so any graduated licence scheme must focus on building experience in all traffic conditions.”
“Learning to drive shouldn’t stop at the practical test. IAM RoadSmart supports post-test check-ups to embed learning and help new drivers negotiate our stressful roads,” he added.
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