UK Prime Minister Teresa May is asking the Department for Transport to look into graduated driver licensing for novice drivers.
Labour MP for Darlington Jenny Chapman raised the issue during Prime Minister’s Questions, stating that one in four young drivers are involved in a collision within the first two years of starting to drive. She asked the Prime Minister to consider introducing a graduated licensing system, as other countries have done.
Describing the issue as “important”, Ms May said she would look at the request and would ask the DfT to do the same. “Too many people suffer loss and tragedy at the hands of learner drivers in these circumstances, and we will certainly look at that,” she said.
The move has been welcomed by motoring organisation the RAC.
“The RAC has been calling for a reform of driving education for young people and the introduction of graduated driving licences with a minimum supervised learning period and restrictions on the number of passengers permitted in the car so this is a very positive step towards preventing the loss of young lives on our roads,” said RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams. “Evidence from other countries where some form of graduated driver licensing is used shows that it has been successful in reducing the number of collisions involving young drivers, but in order for it to be as effective as possible it has to be part of an overall package of measures including more extensive driver education.”
Road safety charity Brake says that ensuring novice drivers have the skills and experience to drive safely on all types of roads, in all scenarios, is an urgent priority.
“Our current licensing system is not fit for purpose and throws newly-qualified drivers in at the deep-end, at great risk to themselves and others,” said Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns. “Brake is calling upon the Government to bring the UK’s licensing system in line with best practice worldwide, requiring a minimum of 10 hours professional tuition for learner drivers and introducing a novice license, with restrictions in place for two years after passing the practical driving test.”