New drivers under 25 could be banned from giving friends a lift

Young driver in a car holding the steering wheel

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Alarming statistics reveal that one in five drivers crash within a year of passing their test, according to the road safety charity Brake. 

New drivers under 25 could be banned from giving lifts to friends under plans being considered by the government. The proposed ban is being considered as part of a “graduated driving licence” being considered by the government in a bid to cut down on the number of car crashes. 

What are “graduated driving licences?”

A graduated driving licence would impose a series of limitations on newly-licenced drivers for a specified duration after successfully passing their driving test. The scheme would place all new drivers under a probationary period, whereby new drivers who acquire six penalty points within two years of passing have their licence revoked. Additionally, drivers under 25 would not be able to carry passengers in the first year or six months after passing their test. 

When will this proposal be considered?

Transport Minister, Richard Holden, will consider the plan with road safety campaigners at a meeting on the 16th of May. The proposal has already been approved by Support for Victims of Road Crashes, an advisory committee to the Department for Transport. 

Why have graduated driving licences been proposed?

According to the road safety charity, Brake, new drivers accompanied by passengers around their own age are four times more prone to fatal accidents than when driving solo. The primary factors contributing to this heightened risk are the tendencies to “show off” and engage in risky behaviour. 

A spokesperson from the Department of Transport said: “Every death or serious injury on our roads is a tragedy, and we continue to work tirelessly to improve road safety for all users. Our broad approach to improving safety for new and novice drivers is through new technology and improving education while reinforcing vital road safety messages.” 

Hasn’t this been spoken about before?

Yes. The scheme has been considered in the past but was abandoned due to concerns about the impact on individuals who drive for work purposes.

Do other countries use graduated driving licences?

Many drivers in the USA, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand are already subject to the rules of their own graduated driving licence schemes. 

Exploring the potential impact on young drivers and society

The implementation of a graduated driving licence in the UK could have both positive and negative consequences for young drivers and the broader community. Below, we’ve explored some of the potential advantages and disadvantages of the proposal:

Potential benefits of graduated driving licences: 

Improved road safety: The primary goal of the graduated driving licence is to reduce the number of car accidents involving young drivers. By limiting the number of passengers and imposing stricter penalties, the hope is that new drivers will be more cautious and responsible on the road.

Encouraging better driving habits: Graduated driving licences can help instil good driving habits in young drivers from the outset, as they will need to adhere to stricter rules and regulations during their probationary period.

International success: Graduated driving licences have proven effective in countries like the USA, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. The success of these schemes suggests that the UK could also benefit from implementing a similar system.

Potential disadvantages of the graduated driving licences:

Impact on social life: The proposed restrictions on carrying passengers could hinder the social lives of young drivers. Many young people rely on their friends for rides, and this ban could isolate them or force them to seek alternative transportation options.

Employment concerns: The graduated driving licence scheme has been abandoned in the past due to concerns about the impact on individuals who drive for work purposes. Young drivers in certain industries, such as delivery or rideshare services, could be negatively affected by these restrictions.

Potential for unintended consequences: While the graduated driving licence aims to reduce accidents, there could be unintended consequences. For example, some young drivers might feel pressured to drive alone, even if they would feel safer with a more experienced passenger.

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