Graduated driving licences (GDL) allow new drivers the opportunity to build their knowledge and driving skills over a period of time. This is done in different stages.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has been investigating whether GDLs should be introduced in England, having already been introduced in Northern Ireland. The DfT will use this to see how well GDLs perform and look to see if it can be replicated or adapted for new drivers here.
GDL could see a limit on the number of passengers a new driver could have, and they would also be required to display a ‘P’ sign for two years after they pass.
It could also require drivers to undertake a minimum of six months’ training before they take their driving test. A GDL system has been introduced in Northern Ireland, and this will act as a pilot for the UK.
There could also be restrictions for new drivers on when they’re able to drive, and if they’re able to carry passengers under a certain age without supervision.
What would a GDL system address?
It’s expected that a GDL system introduced in the UK would allow for more inexperienced drivers to have the opportunity to practice and learn over a longer period of time. A minimum period could be set before they’re able to take their driving test.
Research suggests that most young drivers are at an increased risk of crashing at night. A GDL system would allow for night-time curfews, so that young drivers have better protection against crashes.
Passengers can cause a distraction for drivers, and young drivers are far more likely to be involved in a crash if they have friends as passengers. A GDL system would restrict the number of passengers that new drivers could have, which would help keep young drivers safe while they’re driving.
Drink driving is another concern among those campaigning for a GDL system, as young drivers involved in crashes are more likely to be under the influence of alcohol compared to older drivers who are involved in crashes.
The proposal for GDL is focused on reducing the risks that young and new drivers face. The pilot scheme in Northern Ireland will act as an information gathering process for England.