MPs call on government to reconsider limits for new drivers

The government should resume research into graduated driving licences, a committee of MPs has said.

The Commons Transport Select Committee has said that there is evidence graduated driving licences (GDLs) can be “effective in reducing crash rates”.

Eighty-eight drivers aged 17-24 died on Britain’s roads in 2019, with a further 1,234 seriously injured.

Graduated licences mean new drivers have tougher restrictions for a certain time period after they pass their test.

These could include not being allowed to carry passengers, having to abide by a curfew, lower alcohol limits, and mandatory P plates.

The system is used in countries such as the US, Australia, Sweden and Canada.

The Department for Transport said in July 2019 that they were being considered for England but the process was paused in autumn last year, partly because not having a driving licence could affect young people’s employment chances.

The Commons Transport Select Committee did not go as far as recommending GDLs for England but said the Department for Transport should work with the Northern Ireland Executive as it conducts a pilot scheme.

Tory MP Huw Merriman, who chairs the committee, said “fully equipping learner drivers for driving in different situations” is “essential” to increase safety.

He went on: “The committee balanced the current work of the department with the lack of evidence demonstrating the impact of GDL on the economic and social prospects of young people at this time, particularly in rural areas.

“The committee also took into account the need for young people to be given the freedom to drive without further restrictions being imposed upon them.

“However, we are asking the department to resume its research in this area.”

AA president Edmund King said: “We have always been supportive of elements of a graduated licensing system. A logbook, for instance, can help make sure learners experience different weather and daylight conditions.

“However, we have raised concerns about the social and economic implications for new drivers of a heavily restrictive system post-test and will be interested to see the results of the study.

“It is vitally important any changes that include post-test restrictions are thoroughly tested before being implemented.”

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