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Tougher rules for boy racers: All drivers under the age of 24 could be barred from carrying more than one passenger in their first two years on the road

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 11/04/2018 Phoebe Southworth
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Young drivers face tougher restrictions in a bid to reduce the numbers killed and injured on the roads.

The move could see all motorists under the age of 24 undergoing six months’ training before being granted a full licence.

They will then have to display a probationary P plate for two years and be barred from carrying more than one passenger. 

a man sitting in a car: Young drivers in the UK face tougher restrictions in a bid to reduce the numbers killed and injured on the roads © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Young drivers in the UK face tougher restrictions in a bid to reduce the numbers killed and injured on the roads

Initially the restrictions will apply only in Northern Ireland. But if the scheme is successful the measures will be brought in across the UK.

The plan to introduce a ‘graduated driving licence’ based on experience was confirmed by the Department for Transport yesterday.

The Northern Irish government intends to introduce the reforms in 2019/20 and has consulted on the legislation required to bring it into force.

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Drivers under 24 will not be able to carry more than one passenger aged 14 to 20 between 11pm and 6am for the first six months after passing their test.

There will also be a six-month mandatory minimum learning period and a requirement to display a P plate for two years after receiving a full licence. Although P plates exist already, they are not compulsory. 

The move follows an eight-year campaign to improve road safety by David Stewart, a member of the Scottish parliament, following the deaths of two 17-year-olds in Inverness.

In a letter to Mr Stewart, roads minister Jesse Norman said officials from the UK government have been discussing ‘how to take this work forward’ with their counterparts in Northern Ireland.

‘The Department for Transport has decided to use the introduction of GDL [graduated driving licence] in Northern Ireland as a pilot to gather evidence on the potential for GDL in Great Britain,’ he wrote. Mr Stewart said: ‘This is excellent news and just rewards for all the hard efforts of my team.

‘More satisfying is the knowledge that many grieving parents who have worked on this issue with us will now see that their efforts were not in vain.’

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Drivers aged 16 to 19 are a third more likely to die in a crash than drivers aged 40 to 49, according to official figures. 

Young male drivers – ‘boy racers’ – are involved in many more crashes than young female drivers. And, according to the AA, one in four 18 to 24-year-olds has a crash within two years of passing their test. 

Theresa May announced in February that the DfT would review the case for a graduated driving licence.

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The pledge came after Labour MP Jenny Chapman called for new restrictions, saying there were 400 deaths or serious injuries involving young drivers on British roads each year.

Several countries, including Sweden, Australia and New Zealand, already operate graduated licences.

The Association of British Insurers said it would like graduated driving licences to be introduced across the UK, adding: ‘Any measure that can improve the safety of newly qualified drivers will make the roads safer and should push down insurance premiums.’ 

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