Will young people be banned from driving at night?

Ministers considering graduated licensing system for UK roads for young and novice drivers

(Image credit: Newspress)

The government is considering banning young people from driving at night as part of plans to improve road safety in England.

The Department for Transport has announced that ministers are looking into a graduated licence system to restrict novice drivers, reports the BBC.

As well as placing young motorists under an overnight curfew, the new system could include limits on the number of young passengers that drivers can carry, limits on car engine sizes and a requirement for a minimum “learning period” before a test is taken.

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The BBC says that “the move comes as figures suggest one in five drivers are involved in a crash within a year of passing their test”.

The Times reports that similar schemes are “already operating” in New Zealand and Sweden, as well as some parts of Australia, the United States and Canada.

“The measures could apply to all new drivers, irrespective of age, although other countries have focused most restrictions on younger drivers, typically those aged under 25,” says the newspaper.

For instance, in California, young drivers are under restrictions between 11pm to 5am, while New York only allows unsupervised night driving by young people if they are going to and from work.

Michael Ellis, the road safety minister, says: “We want to explore in greater detail how graduated driver licensing, or aspects of it, can help new drivers to stay safe.”

Joshua Harris, of the road safety charity Brake, said: “Newly qualified drivers, particularly young males, are a high road safety risk and much of this can be put down to lack of experience and overconfidence.”

Nick Lloyd, acting head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said the group “welcomes” the plan and “believes that it will allow young drivers to gain valuable experience, while reducing the risks associated with night-time driving and the carrying of multiple passengers.”

However, The Sun says that plans to restrict young drivers were “previously rejected” in the UK over concerns they could hit young drivers’ career and education prospects.

AA president Edmund King added: “For many people, excessive post-test restrictions could negate the purpose of them having a driving licence in the first place - such as driving to work on early or late shifts when public transport is not convenient.”

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