Swindon MP recognised for young driver campaigning
Justin Tomlinson, MP for Swindon North, has been given a road safety award by the charity Brake for his work campaigning to reform the way young people learn to drive.
Mr Tomlinson launched his campaign earlier this year after two crashes in Swindon killed three teenagers within the space of a week.
Working to highlight the issue in Parliament, Mr Tomlinson introduced the Graduated Driving Licence Scheme Bill on 19 June 2013. The Bill proposed that for 12 months immediately after passing their tests, drivers would have licence restrictions to limit the risks they are exposed to. This would include a zero-tolerance drink drive limit and only being allowed to carry one passenger. These restrictions would be supported by graduated learning, with key skills signed off by an accredited instructor before being allowed to book a test.
Mr Tomlinson consulted widely with emergency services, the insurance industry, Driver Instructors Association, and Brake. He also repeatedly met with transport ministers Stephen Hammond and Robert Goodwill, raised questions about young road deaths in Parliament, and wrote about the issue in local press and the Conservative Home blog.
He secured cross-party support for the Bill from a number of MPs and it was due to have its second reading on 25 October. However, there was not enough time to debate the Bill and a new date has not yet been announced.
Mr Tomlinson has been invited to submit his research and proposals for consideration alongside the Government’s forthcoming green paper on young drivers.
Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: "Brake fully endorses Justin's campaign for graduated driver licensing, an approach we believe is critical to reducing the appalling numbers of young lives cut short and changed forever on our roads.
"Young drivers are more at risk because of a deadly combination of inexperience, overconfidence and peer pressure. Introducing them to the roads gradually, through a minimum learning period and restrictions for novice drivers, has been proven to drastically reduce these risks."
Justin Tomlinson said: "With four young people a day either killed or seriously injured on our roads, it is vital we take steps to allow young drivers to gain essential driving experience under lower risk conditions. I will continue to press on this issue as not only will it improve safety, but it will also bring down sky-high insurance premiums for young drivers.”