Scotland’s transport minister, Keith Brown, has hit out at the UK government over a delay in proposals to restrict driving licences for young drivers. Brown is keen to press ahead with graduated driver licensing (GDL) which would place some restrictions on young drivers; however, the Scottish government cannot introduce its own legislation as driver licensing is reserved to the UK government.
The Scottish government claimed that, despite making up just 10% of licence holders, people ages 17 to 25 account for 23% of drivers involved in road accidents causing injury. GDL puts certain restrictions on newly qualified drivers and is already enforced in Australia, New Zealand and parts of the USA. Such restrictions include a ban on driving at night, lower maximum speed limits and limiting the number of passengers in the vehicle.
Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone argued: ‘the testing process appears incapable of identifying young drivers who are most at risk of being involved in accidents’. This is because those at risk were often the most confident during the testing process and suggested more training might be the answer. He argues that the minimum driving test age should remain at 17 but that people should be able to start learning at 16, giving them the opportunity of a full year under instruction before the practical test.
Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson has introduced his Graduated Driving Licence Scheme Bill at Westminster and the first reading in the Commons is now scheduled for June 2014.