A Public Majority Supports Graduated Licensing for Young Drivers

A Public Majority Supports Graduated Licensing for Young Drivers

A public opinion survey carried out for motoring research charity The RAC Foundation in March 2014 reveals that two-thirds of the public (68%) would approve the introduction of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) for newly qualified young drivers.

The survey found that 71% of those questioned agreed that politicians should give more attention to the issue of road safety.

This is in contrast to the current government’s activity, which has shelved publication of a Green Paper likely to propose wide-ranging changes to driver training and licensing.

Included in the suggestions for change are restrictions on passenger numbers and driving after midnight, as well as a 12 month learner stage, up to 12 months’ probation and a zero alcohol limit.

Younger drivers concerned over limits on freedom of movement

Unsurprisingly, the strongest support for GDL in the survey came from the over-24 age group, with younger participants expressing concerns over limits on their freedom of movement that GDL would impose.

Of all the survey participants, the 16 – 24 age group were least likely to think that the safety of young drivers is a problem, but even among this age group, 73% think that it is.

Two-thirds of parents prepared to ensure children comply with GDL 

Parents, however, strongly support the idea of GDL and two-thirds said they would personally ensure their newly qualified children complied with new rules if they were introduced.

The insurance industry is also supporting the campaign for a change to driver training and licensing. Insurance premiums for new and young drivers could fall if the risks of road accidents and deaths was reduced. 

Analysis of countries where graduated licensing is already in use strongly supports its effectiveness and road safety charities such as Brake are also in favour. So why has the government put this issue on ice?

Government still "wrestling with the issues".

The Green Paper was originally due to be published in 2013, but after repeated delays Ministers admitted in December 2013 they were still “wrestling with the issues” and would issue the paper after further consideration.

The government has expressed concern over the effect of restricted driving on young people travelling to work for late-night shifts, particularly in rural areas.

Campaigners for GDL believe the government are worried about alienating young voters by effectively introducing a crackdown on their mobility and freedom.

The issue of young drivers’ safety is undoubtedly bigger than politics, but with a general election due to be held in under a year’s time (May 2015), it seems rather more hopeful than likely that the topic will be given any serious consideration before then.

Related articles:

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Green Paper for young driver safety changes is delayed

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