New drivers under 25 could be banned from giving lifts to friends
The UK’s roads minister considers a graduated driving licence preventing young drivers from carrying other young passengers for a year
The roads minister Richard Holden will reportedly consider calls from road safety lobbyists to amend the UK driving licence rules so newly qualified drivers under 25 can’t take to the roads with their mates as passengers.
A so-called ‘graduated licence’ scheme would mean anyone passing the driving test before reaching the age of 25 would have to wait a year before being allowed to carry other people of a similar age. While the move has been championed by groups such as Support for Victims of Road Crashes, which is a charity that advises the Department for Transport, others fear more interference from the ‘nanny state’ when it comes to personal freedoms. Current legislation already means novice drivers have a two-year probationary period, during which they’re only allowed to accumulate six penalty points before having their licences revoked.
The RAC’s road safety spokesman Simon WIlliams has welcomed the return of discussion over graduated licences, which were considered under Theresa May’s government but ruled out due to the potential impact on young people who depend on their cars for work.
“Young people, and especially young men, continue to be massively over-represented in road collision statistics, so introducing restrictions that are gradually reduced over the first few years of driving may be one of the measures needed to bring the dreadful numbers down,” said WIlliams.
“It’s important any graduated driver licensing scheme doesn’t disadvantage young people who depend on their cars for work, so a balance needs to be struck.”
The RAC also points out that younger drivers actually account for fewer crashes than drivers in the 85 years and older bracket, yet there is no similar government consideration for licence restrictions there. Nonetheless, the organisation says there could also be “merit” in restricting passengers that young drivers are allowed to carry at certain times, or a tougher drink drive limit.
Parliament will consider the future of the Road Traffic New Drivers Act next month, with roads minister Holden expected to announce plans for amendments on May 16th.
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