Could graduated driving licences improve road safety?

The government has scraped a graduated licence programme despite a quarter of newly qualified motorists having an accident during their first two years of driving.

Government figures show that 400 young UK drivers have a serious or fatal injury every year. Shortly after passing their test.

Improving driver safety could reduce these figures.

What is a graduated driving licence?

A graduated driving licence places restrictions on newly passed drivers. It limits what they can and cannot do on the road after passing their test.

Restrictions can include a limit on the number of passengers in a vehicle. Curfew times, mandatory ‘P’ plates, restricting engine size and speed limits.

Similar schemes already exist in Canada, Sweden, Australia, and parts of the US.

How would a graduated licence improve safety?

Having a graduated licence reduces the risk of accidents for new drivers.

Research from the Transport Research Laboratory has shown schemes like these can improve safety.

Graduated licences can reduce collisions and trauma from collisions by up to 40%.

What’s next?

The government recently cancelled its plans to introduce a graduated driving licence scheme. It claimed it could affect the employment prospects of young people. Instead, it wants to restructure current driving lessons.

Motoring groups would still like to see changes for young drivers. RAC road safety spokesman, Pete Williams, said: “The RAC has been calling for a reform of driving education for young people and the introduction of graduated driving licences with a minimum supervised learning period and restrictions on the number of passengers permitted in the car, so this would be a very positive step towards preventing the loss of young lives on our roads.

“Evidence from other countries where some form of graduated driver licensing is used shows that it has been successful in reducing the number of collisions involving young drivers, but in order for it to be as effective as possible it has to be part of an overall package of measures including more extensive driver education.

“We welcome a common-sense approach to driver education such as the recent decision to allow probationary licence holders to take lessons on motorway driving.”


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