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Graduated Driving Licence For New Drivers Closer

21st February 2018

Photograph of Graduated Driving Licence For New Drivers Closer

North MSP and Road Safety Campaigners eight year campaign for a form of Graduated Licence closer to being introduced.

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP and Road Safety Campaigner, David Stewart, has welcomed news from the UK Government that they plan to seriously now consider introducing a form of Graduated Driving Licence later this year.

David Stewart said " Since 2010 I have been campaigning for a form of Graduated Driving Licence to be introduced for young and new drivers. In the Scottish Parliament, there is broadly cross party support for such a scheme evidenced by the support of motions I have laid down in the Parliament on this issue. However as the matter is reserved to the UK Government, I along with other organisations have being trying to persuade successive UK Cabinet Secretaries for Transport to adopt such a scheme and after 10 years we seem to be finally getting there. My main campaign on this issue was the ‘Sensible Driving - Always Arriving' campaign which was initially set up in 2010.

"We know that in Scotland for example, as a result of research carried out by Dr Sarah Jones of Cardiff University, that if such a scheme was adopted here up to 22 lives could be saved per year and up to £80 million to the Scottish Economy.

"In previous years I have met with staff from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in London and they were able to produce a document showing all the positive benefits of such a scheme and the lives that could be saved if such a scheme were to be introduced including savings to the economy. For example this research revealed that in Scotland alone 12.5% of all road collision involve a driver aged between 17 and 19 years.

Alarmingly, in the Highlands and Grampian areas 15.7 % of all collisions involve a driver aged between 17 and 19 years. In these areas alone we, could reduce the casualties by 64 and prevent those killed or seriously injured by 13, if a graduated licence scheme was introduced."

"During my quest I also met with the RAC Foundation and locally with driving groups and organisations, all of whom have been supportive. I also researched and produced briefings on all the advantages gleaned from countries overseas who have adopted such a scheme."

"I understand that the Prime Minister has agreed to seriously consider introducing this scheme and she has asked the Department of Transport to look again at the issue."

David Stewart concluded, "I have written to the Transport Secretary the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP seeking clarity now on the Governments latest position and I am of course grateful to all those who campaigned with me and the group I set up (NOSDAT - North Of Scotland Driver Awareness Scheme) to help secure such a scheme. It has been a long road to get this far and we are not over the finish line yet, but for those who have lost loved ones I hope we can get these changes in the law which will alleviate some of the pain they have endured. I truly believe that this scheme if finally introduced is a positive step to make our roads safer and I am convinced it will hopefully save many young lives. It is a truism that there is no greater loss than the loss of a child. Let's hope that now at last we are taking positive action to address the carnage on our roads involving particularly young people."

A probationary period has been proposed which would mean that certain restrictions are imposed on new drivers for up to two years after they pass their practical test.

Under the proposals drivers would be restricted from driving at night time and carrying passengers under 25 years of age unless supervised.

Similar restrictions have been implemented Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK.

Other moves include putting a limit on the engine size and power output to also help prevent accidents.

Currently if drivers clock up six points in their first two years they can face an instant ban from driving, compared to the usual 12.

Highlands & Islands (including Moray) MSP and long time Road Safety Advisor, David Stewart, has welcomed support he has received from the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, MSP,on his (David Stewart's) continued proposal for a form of graduated licence to be introduced for young or new drivers. 

In his response to a query from David Stewart on this issue, Humza Yousaf wrote " I am encouraged by the work being undertaken by the North of Scotland Driver Awareness Team (NOSDAT).The Scottish Government believes that all road users have a part to play in keeping our roads and their environs safe by understanding their responsibilities and acting responsibly and within the law. It is excellent to see those involved with NOSDAT working in partnership to share expertise and encourage road safety.  

Regarding GDL, the Scottish Government supports the introduction of such a scheme. This remains the young driver initiative with the most clear and unambiguous evidence to show that it reduces the crash rate for new and young drivers, as has been starkly demonstrated by countries around the world which have introduced some form of GDL.

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