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Government considering graduated driving licences for new, young drivers

Young driver

Novice drivers could face new restrictions after the Department for Transport announced it is investigating introducing graduated driving licences.

The Northern Ireland Government plans to bring a number of provisions into force in 2019/20 including passenger carrying restrictions and a six-month mandatory learning period.

It also mandates the display of ‘R’ plates (short for restricted) for the first two years after the passing of driving tests.

A letter written by roads safety minister Jesse Norman says the Northern Ireland proposal will be used as a pilot scheme to gauge whether the plans should be introduced across the UK.

The Northern Ireland scheme is currently in the second stage of a public consultation and proposes limiting the number of passengers new drivers aged 24 and under can carry in the six months after passing their driving tests to one between the hours of 11pm and 6am.

Immediate family members would be exempt from this rule.

Road safety charity IAM RoadSmart said it is fully in favour of this approach, in particular the minimum learning period and some restrictions on peer group passengers.

A spokesman added: “We remain to be convinced about the value of night curfews, but the real world experience in Northern Ireland will help ensure that the next steps are evidence based.”

In addition, IAM RoadSmart also strongly supports the Department for Transport’s commissioning of a £2 million young driver research programme.

This will look into the effectiveness of a range of safety measures for young and novice drivers, both pre and post-test.

 These will include getting parents more involved in managing post-test hazardous situations as well as greater use of telematics to manage driver behaviour. 

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