Should Newly Qualified u-25 Drivers Be Banned From Taking Passengers?

Should Newly Qualified u-25 Drivers Be Banned From Taking Passengers?

As the UK government works to reduce accidents and fatalities on its roads, it is considering overhauling the driving licence system. The Department for Transport (DfT) is discussing whether newly qualified drivers should be restricted from carrying younger passengers, among other measures. These changes are part of the Road Safety Statement plan published in 2019, which aims to reduce accidents and fatalities on UK roads.

One possible change is to move away from the current provisional and full licence structure towards graduated driving licensing. This would allow new drivers to gradually gain confidence and skills before earning greater freedom and autonomy. This is especially targeted at drivers under the age of 25, as statistics show that 17-24 year-olds account for more casualties than any other age group, specifically car occupant casualties.

“Changes in behaviour are most effective when they are progressive; we need to be receptive to new ideas, reflect, plan, act and maintain the behaviour in order to make real change," said the DfT. "This 'lifelong learning' approach at all stages of our lives is a foundation for this Road Safety Statement and provides the building blocks for future change in making our roads safer.”

The Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 already restricts new drivers from getting more than six points before disqualification, rather than the usual 12. Additional measures being considered include controls on the time of day a restricted licence holder can drive unsupervised or restrictions on the passengers they can carry. These proposals are in addition to tougher penalties for traffic violations.

While new drivers may only have to wait between six months and a year before being allowed to carry passengers, concerns have been raised about how these proposals may impinge on young workers. Nevertheless, with more attention being given to these proposals, it raises the question: should new drivers have to prove themselves before being allowed to have their friends in the car?

Graduated driving licensing is not a new concept. Other countries, such as Australia, Canada, and the United States, have already implemented it with positive results. In Ontario, Canada, research shows that the introduction of graduated driving licensing led to a 30% decrease in crashes involving young drivers.

However, there are some concerns about implementing such measures in the UK. For example, some argue that it may lead to an increase in the number of unlicensed drivers on the road. Others point out that graduated driving licensing may disproportionately affect those from low-income backgrounds who cannot afford to take extra lessons or pay for additional insurance.

Regardless of the potential challenges, it is clear that the UK government is committed to reducing accidents and fatalities on its roads. Graduated driving licensing is just one proposal being considered, but it could have a significant impact on young drivers and road safety in the country.
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