Young drivers could be ‘penalised’ by new proposals which will see freedoms restricted

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Young drivers could be set to face tougher restrictions on their driving habits in the immediate aftermath of passing their driving test under new proposals. A consultation has been launched to look into plans for a graduated licensing programme with early consultations suggesting a zero-alcohol limit could be imposed on young people.

There had been calls to limit the number of passengers newly qualified drivers can carry in a car but these were firmly rejected by youngsters helping with the scheme.

However, Ian McIntosh, CEO of Red Driving School has warned new schemes should not aim to “clip the wings” of young drivers.

He warned that it was vital that youngsters “find and keep jobs” as he warned a new graduated system could affect “support networks” in some areas.

He said: “Restricting driving licences may deter youngsters from learning to drive.

“This would impact social mobility, employment prospects and hamper local economies.

“The timing of this proposal couldn’t be worse. The younger generations have been hit the hardest by the economic impact of the pandemic and have already suffered the most from a constricted job market.

“With the UK in another recession, one which some commentators see as particularly deep and long-lasting, we need to ensure youngsters have every opportunity to find and keep jobs in this new world, rather than thinking about how we can clip their wings.

“The graduated driving licence proposal will affect support networks built around friends and families – particularly in rural areas where public transport options are limited.

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“At a time where young drivers are already penalised through higher insurance premiums, the government should avoid action that further penalises young drivers.”

The Transport Committee’s consultation on the issue is open until 12 October with any findings set to be revealed after this date.

The committee is asking young drivers between the ages of 17 and 25 for their views on a range of potential measures to reduce car crashes.

The new scheme comes after a disproportionate number of young drivers were killed and injured on the road.

Department for Transport (DfT) data revealed drivers between this age range made up just seven percent of licence holders yet represented 16t percent of all drivers killed and seriously injured on the road.

Chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman said their survey was going to focus on whether a new scheme would impact on the “life chances” of youngsters.

Mr Mcintosh added that the government should prioritise changing the attitudes of younger drivers to “respect the dangers of the road”.

He added: “An overarching reason for dangerous driving on the roads lies with driver attitudes, and this problem can’t be tackled by simply restricting independence.

“Young drivers adopt a responsible mindset only when they are taught to respect the dangers of the road.

“The government should prioritise these kinds of initiatives, as it did when educating people about the risks of smoking. Changing attitudes is the only long-term option for increasing road safety.

“As one of the UK’s biggest driving schools, we understand the pressures young and newly qualified drivers face from others when on the roads, often because they are sticking to the speed limits and driving regulations. This pressure from other drivers can encourage poor attitudes.

“Rather than graduated driving licences, a preferable solution to encourage safer motoring is the Co-Op’s T plate, identifying drivers with a telematic device installed.

“This will encourage more patience and tolerance from other drivers, as well as serving as a reminder to others about the rules of the road.”

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