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Scotland Considering Young Driver Licence Restrictions

By raccars Published

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High from the triumph of its new, lower drink driving limit, Scotland is seriously considering introducing a graduated licence scheme for younger drivers. Having seen great success from stricter drink driving laws, Scotland believes it can improve road safety in the country even more, by targeting young drivers and speeders.

The plan is being proposed by David Stewart MSP, after working with the RAC Foundation. He believes that 22 lives and £80 million could be saved every year by restricting licences for younger drivers. He has suggested a pilot programme in three parts. Initially, 17 and 18 year-old drivers would be obliged to display a 'P' plate in their car for the first year of holding a licence, to indicate their lack of experience to other road users. There would also be restrictions on carrying passengers under the age of 25, unless another driver aged 25 or over is also in the car. Novice drivers would also be subject to an even lower drink driving limit, effectively imposing a zero tolerance policy.

Stewart has pointed to the improvements in road safety seen in other countries where graduated licence schemes have been introduced.

Another part of the programme will see a pilot scheme for Formal Adult Warnings to be used, to penalise drivers committing minor speeding offences, in the form of roadside education rather than court prosecutions. Police forces in England and Wales already have the option of sending drivers on awareness courses rather than issuing fines and licence penalty points for minor motoring offences, but this option is not available in Scotland.

The head of roads policing in Scotland, Chief Superintendent Iain Murray, claims that the new regulations will be targeting generally law abiding drivers, who unwittingly commit minor speeding offences due to a lack attention or awareness, rather than repeat and serious offenders.

Graduated licence schemes are supported by a number of motoring organisations, including the RAC Foundation and road safety charity, Brake. Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and a number of states in the US already have graduated licence schemes in place. Road safety statistics in these countries have proven them to be effective at reducing fatalities and serious injuries in the high risk young driver group. In the US, crashes are down 37% annually among young drivers with licence restrictions, and down 23% in New Zealand, since the scheme was introduced.

Brake believes 400 road deaths and serious injuries could be prevented every year in Britain, if graduated licences were introduced.

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