Proposed Graduated Driving Licence would control the behaviour of new drivers

New drivers could face tougher restrictions - such as a zero-alcohol limit and a cap on passengers in their first few months of motoring - under a new law being proposed.

Described as rules to target ‘over confident young drivers’ the bill would see the creation of a Graduated Driving Licence for those who have recently their test and here’s how it could work:

The new law proposes controlling the behaviour of new motorists. Image: iStock.
The new law proposes controlling the behaviour of new motorists. Image: iStock.

What is a Graduated Driving Licence?

A GDL is a system that helps new drivers gain experience gradually.

Already adopted in many countries around the world - the scheme puts new motorists under certain restrictions or conditions for a set period of time before they are granted full driving privileges.

The aim of a GDL is to reduce the risks associated with inexperienced drivers such as accidents and fatalities on the road, which in 2022 in the UK came to 29,742 - with around a fifth involving a young motorist.

A zero-alcohol limit for young drivers is being suggested. Image: iStock.
A zero-alcohol limit for young drivers is being suggested. Image: iStock.

What is being proposed?

Labour MP Kim Leadbeater has introduced a new law into Parliament called the ‘Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (New Drivers) Bill’.

The proposal would make new drivers pass through several stages before being allowed to drive more freely.

This could include initially driving with a more experienced adult, restricting the hours when they can drive unsupervised and capping the number of passengers they’re allowed to carry.

The suggestion of a zero-alcohol limit for the first six months has also been put forward.

When they have completed all the requirements set out new drivers would then be granted their full licence under the plans.

Kim Leadbeater explained: “We must never forget that behind that statistic there are thousands of lives, right across the country, grieving or going through unimaginable pain. Lives changed forever and families torn apart by tragic and often avoidable collisions.

“Many of us will remember being new drivers. The inexperience, the lack of confidence or, sometimes, sadly often amongst younger men, the overconfidence.”

Around 5,000 people are killed or seriously injured in crashes involving young drivers each year. Image: Stock photo.
Around 5,000 people are killed or seriously injured in crashes involving young drivers each year. Image: Stock photo.

Who is supporting the proposal?

The new bill has reportedly received cross-party support already in the House of Commons and from those working in the motoring industry.

The RAC is among those backing the proposed new law.

The breakdown organisation points to New Zealand, where a similar scheme has been introduced and there has been a 23% reduction in car collision injuries for 15–19 year olds, and a 12% reduction for 20–24 year olds.

RAC road safety spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “The tragic statistics speak for themselves. Young drivers, especially men, are far more likely to be killed or seriously injured on our roads, so it’s high time a renewed focus was given to reducing casualties.

“Families up and down the country who have lost sons and daughters far too soon are looking for something to change, and graduated driving licences could well be the answer.

“Passing the practical driving test is the very first step in anyone’s driving career, but there remains so much more to learn to become a safe, proficient, and confident driver. We call on MPs to back this Bill and set the wheels in motion in creating legislation that has the potential to save lives.”

Giving learner drivers limits after passing could improve safety says the AA. Image: iStock.
Giving learner drivers limits after passing could improve safety says the AA. Image: iStock.

The AA is also behind the plans having already listed its suggestions for a Graduated Driving Licence in its motoring manifesto released last month, which puts to politicians the issues it says road users are most concerned about.

Ms Leadbeater's bill, which she put in under the so-called Ten Minute Rule, is expected to get its second reading in the Commons on May 17.

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