Northern Ireland Environment Minister, Alex Attwood, has proposed radical changes in driver training and new driver safety. The new measures which reflect best practice around the world, are a fundamental shift towards safer driving among young people.
The Minister’s plans include:
- lower provisional licence age of 16½;
- a mandatory minimum learning period of 12 months for provisional licence holders;
- post test period will be two not one year;
- removal of the 45 mph speed restriction currently applied to learner and restricted drivers;
- learner drivers will be allowed to take lessons on motorways when accompanied by a fully qualified Approved Driving Instructor in a dual-controlled car;
- and in a new initiative, new drivers up to age 24 will not be allowed to carry young passengers (aged 14 to 20, except immediate family members) during their first six months post-test, unless there is a supervising driver over 21, with three years full licence in the passenger seat.
Alex Attwood also said: “Road deaths have recently fallen to their lowest level since records began. But we can do more. Car drivers under twenty five are responsible for 44% of road fatalities but hold only 11% of full car licences. To turn this problem around we need fundamentally to change how we help new drivers become safe drivers for life.”