Prime Minister pledges to look at a graduated licensing (GDL) scheme for young drivers

Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to look at introducing a graduated licensing (GDL) scheme for young drivers – calling it long overdue.

The pledge came during Prime Minister’s Questions, as Labour MP Jenny Chapman told MPs that one in four young drivers was involved in an accident within the first two years of starting to drive.

As Mrs May said: “There are too many people who suffer a loss and tragedy at the hands of learner drivers and we will certainly look at that.”

Although very few learner drivers are responsible for deaths, IAM RoadSmart strongly support a review of the way we equip new drivers to cope with the first few dangerous months of solo driving. Road crashes are the biggest killer of young people in the UK today, but in our view are not treated with the same urgency as knife or drug crime.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Too many young drivers pass the practical test unprepared for the road so any GDL scheme must focus on building experience in all traffic conditions.

“GDL shouldn’t stop at the practical test and IAM RoadSmart supports post-test check-ups to embed learning and help new drivers negotiate our stressful roads.”

Commenting on the statement, Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said: “Ensuring that novice drivers have the skills and experience to drive safely on all types of roads, and in all scenarios, is an urgent priority. Our current licensing system is not fit for purpose and throws newly-qualified drivers in at the deep-end, at great risk to themselves and others.
“We are encouraged that the Government will look into the issue of Graduated Driver Licensing, however, this process must result in positive change. Young and novice drivers are involved in a disproportionate number of road crashes [1] and the introduction of a comprehensive Graduated Driver Licensing system is critical to reverse this trend.
“Brake is calling upon the Government to bring the UK’s licensing system in line with best practice worldwide, requiring a minimum of 10 hours professional tuition for learner drivers and introducing a novice license, with restrictions in place for two years after passing the practical driving test [2]. We look forward to working with the Government on their review of this issue.”