Graduated driving licenses could be introduced for new motorists

Graduated driving licenses could be introduced for new motorists

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The Department for Transport (DfT) is considering the introduction of graduated driving licenses to ease the transition for new motorists, reduce risks and improve overall road safety.

New proposals for graduated licenses were first outlined earlier this year and the DfT is now investigating whether such an initiative would be plausible and what restrictions it should include. The current proposals include limiting the number of passengers a new driver can carry, a six-month training period before tests and the display of ‘P’ on cars for two years after passing.

The big news for learners during the last month has been motorway lessons, which are now possible across the UK. GEM Motoring Assist believes it is a positive step but cautioned that it may not actually improve safety as many will not bother ­– it isn’t mandatory. They also called for more drastic changes to driving lessons and the learning phase to reduce the number of accidents on the road.

GEM road safety officer, Neil Worth revealed: “Driving on the motorway for the first time can be a daunting experience, so although we welcome the opportunity for learners to drive on the motorway while accompanied by a qualified driving instructor, we believe few will bother because they won’t be tested on it.”

“However the new scheme makes accompanied driving available for learners an option. It’s not a requirement and will not be assessed in the driving test, so we see few, if any, safety benefits. We believe motorway driving should be mandatory for all learners, as experience should show that optional learning opportunities simply don’t work. Take Pass Plus, for example. “It’s a great idea to offer an additional programme of post-test experience building for newly-qualified drivers. But the average uptake today is just 3%.”

Worth added that the government should try to create a “new learning system that’s fit for purpose”. He recommends a 12-month period for learning prior to practical tests, the introduction of a ‘novice’ status – that will be enforced for the first two years after passing – a ban on novice drivers carrying young adults, a night time curfew and automatic disqualification for any offence.

GEM pointed to the examples set by other countries who have implemented GDL schemes to reduce the number of fatalities involved teenagers and adults in their early 20s. Worth added: “Research from TRL in 2013 shows that 16-year-old drivers in the USA who learnt to drive through GDL systems 15 years ago had 37% fewer crashes than those who followed other systems. Elsewhere, following the introduction of GDL in New Zealand, injuries from road traffic collisions reduced by almost a quarter for 15- to 19-year olds.”

With new motorway lessons and the potential for change in the learning process, driving school instructors should make sure to get the best driving school insurance to protect themselves and their students. The correct policy will offer personal injury cover for any vehicle in addition to free legal helpline for all legal matters.

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