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Radical proposals to improve road safety in Northern Ireland

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.”