In a bid to improve road safety, the Department for Transport has revealed plans that consider putting a potential ban on newly qualified motorists driving at night, a move that could severely impact the lives of young people.
Figures show that one in five new drivers are involved in a collision within the first 12 months of qualifying, and the DfT plan to combat this by introducing a graduated licensing system that will see certain restrictions placed on novice drivers. In addition to the night time driving ban, the new system could see restrictions on a minimum learning period before taking a driving test as well as preventing drivers from travelling with passengers under a certain age. However, it has yet to be revealed how long these measures could be in place for once someone has passed their driving test.
Current legislation dictates that new drivers are to have their license revoked if they collect 6 points within the first two years of driving; that’s equivalent to the number of points given when caught using a mobile phone or for two speeding offences!
Similar schemes to the one proposed by DfT are already in effect in Australia, Canada and some EU countries and even in the UK; but this is limited to motorcyclists only, restricting young bikers to less powerful bikes. Applying schemes of this nature to new motorists has previously been rejected due to the limitations it would place on young people and has certainly received mixed reviews. While the Government has previously been wary of introducing such restrictions, Road Safety Minister, Michael Ellis, said graduated driver licensing could "help new drivers to stay safe and reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads". The chief executive of Red Driving School, Ian McIntosh, argued that the scheme would severely affect young people, impacting their employment prospects and social mobility. He also claimed the potential ban “will affect support networks built around friends and families – particularly in rural areas where public transport options are limited”.
However, further research is being conducted by the DfT in order to establish and explore how this system might work and further details will be available from 2020 but ultimately, any changes to licensing will have to be approved by the Government first before being introduced.
While the proposed scheme will certainly go a long way to improving road safety and that of young, newly qualified drivers, does it not strip young people of their independence too much? We can’t help but feel that there needs to be some balance when trying to meet the needs of the two, but what do you think? Do you think graduated driver licensing - or a similar scheme, should be introduced?
Let us know your thoughts on the night time driving ban for young drivers via our social media channels!
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