Government Backs Away From Young Driver Safety Plan
New Drivers Not To Be Restricted
A Government plan to improve road safety by restricting the movements of young motorists has been put on hold, BBC Newsbeat has reported. Proposals under consideration – that could have been implemented based on the findings of a Transport Research Laboratory report - included issuing newly qualified youngsters with a probationary licence, rather than the full. This could have prevented them using the roads between (say) 10PM and 5AM unless accompanied by somebody aged thirty or higher. During the probationary period motorists might have sported “p” plates to indicate a lack of experience. This, of course, would have warned fellow road users to expect the unexpected. Furthermore, new drivers could have been subject to a lower drink-drive limit, been banned from using hands-free mobiles and required to have motorway lessons. As things stand, learners are not allowed on motorways even if accompanied by an instructor with dual controls. It was also suggested that learners should have a compulsory one-hundred and twenty hours tuition before the test, including twenty hours in darkness. There is currently no minimum. Such proposals were considered as young drivers account for a disproportionate number of road casualties – and they might have addressed this issue. On this basis, the Institute of Advanced Motorists safety charity claimed it is 'disappointed' and the authorities have 'copped out'.
Proposals Might Have Caused Problems For Young Drivers
The Government backed away from the rules changes as they could have caused problems for youngsters – a large proportion of which drive responsibly and legally. The main concern is that they could have restricted employment opportunities. Consider, for example, youngsters that work in pubs/clubs/factories at unsocial hours. The 10PM to 5AM curfew could have forced them out of these industries if public transport is not available. This is a particular concern in rural areas. Furthermore, there is little merit in having laws that cannot be enforced. Would the police really stop every car that has a young looking driver and ask for proof of age? On this basis, a Department for Transport spokesman said: 'The safety of young people on our roads is very important to us - too many young people die, too often. We are wrestling with how to make things safer, while not unduly restricting the freedom of our young people. We want young people to be able to get to work and training, to education and to leisure activities and we want them to do so safely. We are finding this a difficult balance, with passionate voices on both sides'.