GDL ‘could prevent up to 400 KSIs each year’

07.22 | 5 August 2020 | | 4 comments

Graduated driver licencing will again be discussed by MPs next month, as part of an inquiry into young and novice driver safety.

GDL is a scheme which places restrictions on new drivers, such as not being able to drive at night – or not driving with passengers under a certain age in the car.

Its introduction has long been debated by the Government, who in 2019 committed to review and consult on GDL as part of its road safety action plan.

The issue will be raised during the first evidence session of the Transport Committee’s relaunched inquiry into young and novice drivers, which takes place on 2 September.

MPs will hear from Dr Neale Kinnear, head of behavioural science at TRL, along with Elizabeth Box, head of research at the RAC Foundation, and Mary Williams OBE, chief executive of Brake.

Speaking to the Telegraph ahead of the session, Dr Kinnear says GDL could prevent up to 400 deaths or serious injuries each year, saving the economy £200 million annually through crash prevention.

Dr Kinnear added that research has ‘consistently shown’ that young drivers are ‘less adept’ at responding to road hazards. 

He said: “The only real approach to tackle this with evidence of working is graduated driver licencing, and the evidence for it is overwhelming.”

The focus of the session, which will be available to watch via the Transport Committee website, is to explore:

  • The human cost of collisions involving young and novice drivers; road safety campaigns, and the policy changes campaigners would like to see
  • The reasons young and novice drivers are at a higher risk when it comes to road traffic collisions and casualties
  • Policy options and interventions which could reduce the risks to young and novice drivers
  • The results of research undertaken into these interventions
  • The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on issues affecting young and novice drivers

Statistics show that young drivers aged 17-24 years account for 7% of the UK’s driving licence holders but are involved in 20% of fatal and serious collisions.



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    It’s not just rural Pat. There are loads of small towns where the bus service is rubbish in the evenings and no service at all on Sundays. GDL has to take that into account across the country. I’m sure it is possible to limit young passengers for young drivers at night whilst permitting ‘essential travel’ i.e. taking a workmate to work/hospital emergencies etc.

    Guzzi, Newport
    Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

    If GDL comes in for car drivers (GDL is already here for motorbikes), it needs to be “rural-proofed” to ensure that young people trying to make a living and working anti-socially early or late shifts where there are no buses or trains running, can get to and from work 24/7. And that may well involve some young people car sharing at night.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (11) | Disagree (2)

    There is sufficient evidence to suggest that GDL can offer benefits. However there are so many options that I fear the complexity of policy decisions will confine this to more long grass. I would suggest a foot in the door approach to bring in something very simple as a trailblazer, just to get a legal framework in place. I would start with limiting number of young passengers in the first year post test. If nothing else this would reduce casualties even if crash rates stayed the same.

    Peter Whitfield, Liverpool
    Agree (5) | Disagree (6)

    I’m going to presume that all the proponents of a prohibition on night time driving are people who are no longer young – and therefore they’d not be affected by this, right?

    > He said: “The only real approach to tackle this with evidence of working is graduated driver licencing, and the evidence for it is overwhelming.”

    Really? Please, tell the road safety community how depriving road users of experience in night time driving in fog will help them gain experience in situations like night time driving in fog.

    Or is this a way of trying to hide the fact that the syllabus doesn’t and cannot teach everything, without trying anything meaningful to fix it?

    David Weston, Newcastle upon Tyne
    Agree (9) | Disagree (3)

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