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Radical driving licence changes put to Parliament

Young person DrivingImagine not being allowed to drive after 11pm or only being able to carry certain passengers. Well that could become reality for new drivers if a road safety campaign is successful.

Young drivers hit the headlines again this month after a new campaign was launched asking the government to radically overhaul the learn-to-drive system.

Road safety charity Brake is appealing to MPs to make some serious changes to the current scheme, which gives new drivers a full licence after the driving test is passed, from the age of 17.

According to Brake, a revamp of the way driving licences are issued would cut the number of road deaths in the UK by giving motorists better training. In the last ten years alone, there have been 8,109 young lives lost in road accidents.

The insurance industry is supporting the campaign in the hope that reducing road deaths will bring down risk and cut the cost of car insurance for everyone, especially young people and new drivers. In 2010, the Transport Select Committee agreed that better driver training was key to cutting the cost of motor insurance in the long-term.

Nick Starling, director of general insurance and health at the Association of British Insurers, said: “The current learning to drive regime is failing young people, as there is much more to driving than simply passing the driving test.

“Too many youngsters get behind the wheel ill-equipped for unsupervised driving. This is why we have long advocated structured learning to help young drivers build up their driving skills gradually and safely, and graduated licensing for newly qualified drivers.”

Watch this video to see why one bereaved father is supporting the proposals and read on below to see how the changes could affect you.

A radical new scheme

What Brake want to see is a “graduated driving licence” , which would compel new drivers to undergo a minimum learning period of one year before taking a driving test. Once passed, the novice driver would be allowed to drive unsupervised but would have restrictions on their licence for a minimum of two years.

Other key components include: 

  • Restrictions on the time of day that young drivers can drive
  • Giving young drivers a lower alcohol limit
  • Restricting them from carrying young passengers
  • Banning motorway driving in the first year after the test
  • A second driving test at the end of the two-year period to help ensure safe driving on all types of roads.

Brake is adding weight to its campaign by enlisting the help of families with first-hand experience of road tragedies.

Bereaved father Tony Davison is fully supporting the call for a new driving system. “My 18-year-old son was killed by a young driver who took risks and paid the ultimate price, along with my son,” he said.

“I’m proud to support Brake in calling for the introduction of graduated driver licensing to help keep young people safe on the road, and reduce the number of families, like ourselves, who have to experience the untold grief of a police officer knocking on their door to deliver the news that their loved one has been killed on the road.”

The Brake campaign also coincides with the start of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety – a worldwide bid to cut the number of road deaths.

Julie Townsend, Brake’s campaigns director, said: “Young drivers and their behaviour hold the key to the future extent of carnage on roads. These crashes account for a quarter of all road deaths and serious injuries. There is compelling evidence that graduated driver licencing would reduce these appalling casualties, and help protect young people from the biggest danger they face.”

Brake will be working with the Government to try and implement the proposals and get the graduated licence in place. Similar systems already operate in Hong Kong, New Zealand and some states in America.

What do you think about the proposals?


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Lois Avery

Lois Avery

Lois joined in 2010 after working for Dyson and as a local newspaper reporter in Wiltshire. After a year writing financial journalism at, Lois won the 2011 'most promising newcomer' at the BIBA journalist of the year awards.

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