New young driver rules proposed to save lives on the road

Highlands & Islands (Labour) MSP and road safety campaigner David Stewart had a positive meeting in Westminster yesterday (10/12/14) with the Transport Minister, Claire Perry MP, with regard to his desire to have a form of graduated Licence Scheme piloted in Scotland for new and young drivers.

David Stewart said “ Yesterday, I travelled down to the House of Commons to meet with the Transport Minister Claire Perry MP face to face, to discuss my proposals for the introduction of a form of graduated licence to be piloted in Scotland”.

“The Minister was open to my proposals and was positive in relation to the outline proposal, although she advised that further discussion and deliberation would be necessary before there would be any commitment from the UK Government. To her credit she recognised the work my team in NOSDAT (North Of Scotland Driver Awareness Team) were doing in relation to road safety across the North of Scotland”.

“ I have to repeat that I am not in the business of demonising young people or young drivers, far from it. However the fact remains that only 1.5% of our drivers are young,(aged between 17 and 24), yet they are responsible for 13% of all road collisions. One in five young drivers crash in the first two years after passing their test. My proposals include displaying a ‘P’ plate for the probation period of driving which is between the ages of 17 and 18 years for young drivers. During this period they will keep a log book in which they will have to carry out 100 hours of daytime driving and 20 hours of night time driving”.

“ I appreciate that young drivers may be less than positive about these proposals, but I hope that by entering into dialogue with them and through discussion, I can allay any fears they may have”.

“ There are restrictions proposed, for example, no driving after 10 pm and before 5am. However, there will be exemptions, for example if the young driver is travelling to and from work and they have no one under 30 years with them in the vehicle, or if they have a passenger 30 years and over with them”.

“ I am as keen as ever to pilot such a scheme in Scotland. Dr Sarah Jones of Cardiff University can prove from her studies of road collisions in Scotland that up to 22 lives a year can be saved and up to £80 million to the Scottish economy. For me that makes this scheme a ‘no brainer’. I will continue to work with our partners to strive to make our roads safer”.