New Drivers Under 25 Could Face Restrictions Under Scheme Considered By Government
A new ‘graduated driving licence’ scheme is being considered by the government which could mean that drivers under the age of 25 from carrying young passengers in their vehicles.
The news broke as the Transport Minister is set to consider the plan in a meeting with road safety experts and campaigners.
It’s sparked a lot of discussion since it was announced the government was considering the change and there are arguments on either side.
What Does It Mean For New Drivers?
The reality is that drivers under 25 are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash when driving with other young people versus driving on their own or with older passengers.
Road safety groups, including charity Brake, say that this is mainly down to peer pressure leading to young drivers showing off and making poor decisions, putting themselves and other road users at risk.
Restrictions on how young drivers can use their vehicles would require new laws, which would mean amendments to the Road Traffic Act. The specific changes that are being considered are understood to be to ban passengers under the age of 25 in a driver’s first year of driving.
That could change to six months, but the discussion is set for next month to determine whether it’s a feasible change, what impact it would have on road safety, and whether there are any other considerations to be made.
For fleet owners, it’s unlikely to be an issue. Most fleet drivers are significantly more experienced and it’s generally a requirement to have a certain number of years’ experience of driving before being able to take a job driving for a living.
Plus, the likelihood of a fleet driver needing to take passengers under the age of 25 whilst also being in the first year of driving is pretty low – if not zero.
The Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act already bans drivers if they receive six penalty points within their first two years of driving, so there’s a precedent for improving road safety through changes to the law for new drivers.
What About Fleets?
Any changes would be aimed at improving road safety which as fleet owners, I’m sure you can appreciate.
For as much as we can control in terms of our own safety on the roads, including technology and smart decision-making, there’s a huge variable in terms of the actions of other road users that can affect our road safety.
With the changes being backed by key figures in the UK’s road safety campaigning community, the discussion is likely to lead to further consultation ahead of potential changes.
Any additional restrictions for newly qualified drivers would need significant consideration though, particularly after plans for changes were scrapped last year.
Those changes would have set curfews AND limits on passengers in the car, but they were scrapped after concerns over the impact on those who use their vehicle for employment. The curfew was an issue that couldn’t be overcome but it appears that the limits on passengers might yet come to fruition…
What do you think about the potential new laws for new drivers? Will it improve road safety? Let us know in the comments below…