MSP leads Graduated Driver Licensing debate

15.40 | 7 September 2011 | | 3 comments

David Stewart MSP, yesterday (07/09/11) led a debate in the Scottish Parliament calling for Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) to be introduced in Scotland in a bid to reduce the number of young driver crashes.

A GDL scheme could include measures such as newly qualified drivers being banned from night time driving and carrying passengers of a similar age. A study conducted by Cardiff University found that the scheme could save more than 200 lives and result in 1,700 fewer serious injuries each year.

Brake, the road safety charity, is backing the move. Ellen Booth, senior campaigns officer, said: "Evidence indicates that reforming our system of training and testing drivers would make a huge difference in preventing casualties, particularly among young people.

“David is spearheading the campaign in Scotland, and we wholeheartedly support his work. We hope that Scotland will be a leader in the UK by introducing a comprehensive system of GLD to protect young lives on Scotland’s roads."

For more information contact Ellen Booth on 01484 559909.


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    When I was RoSPA’s statistician in the late 1970’s there was call for this. I thinks it’s barmy that a 17 year old can’t vote or officially drink in public, but can drive. Start it at 18 years of age, restrict the type of car they can drive, and limit the number of passengers that they can carry. Then re-test at 20 years including a more psychological IT test to check their attitude to hazard identification. Re-test at 25 years of age, and then not again until 70 years of age. Of course politically, the above is currently a non-starter, or is it?

    John Wright, Sheffield
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    This old chesnut crops up regularly, but any positive progress is blocked by insignificant outfits whose own self preservation is paramount, and to h*ll with improving road safety, let alone young lives, whether they be drivers or innocent parties.

    Some years ago the most professional of driving instructors associations – DIA – advocated implementing a graduated licence scheme, which very sadly was not supported by the less than professional associations.
    When Dr Sarah Jones of Cardiff University published a report last year advocating GL for young drivers, which was supported by numerous MPs, I took the opportunity to raise the issue again with a certain instructor ‘society’ but most regrettably due to shockingly poor leadership, the committee rejected the idea of lending support to the GL proposal.

    A second serious problem is the appalling state of driving instructor education, apptitude testing (lack of!),recruitment and training, all of which is the absolute pits! Any illiterate Tom, Dick, or Harry, Smoker, Obese, ‘sweaty T shirt wearing baggy jeans and smelly trainer shoes no-hoper’ is allowed to enter the ‘profession’. This ludicrous situation is a national disgrace, and to confirm what I have said, compare it to the really professional way that Norway selects its driving instructors.

    You only have to look at the people who met with the Road Safety Minister recently to see that most of the instructors ‘representatives’ are inadequately educated and inadequately qualified instructors themselves, and having dipped their toes into the training of learner drivers soon found themselves totally out of their depth, and so took refuge in an office to fly a desk or con colleages into voting them into some ‘official capacity’ as a representative. These bozos then spend their lives pontificating about ‘driver training’, a subject they know zilch about. Why Mike Penning (and his predecessors) gave them the time of day, I really cannot understand…

    As for the DSA, well, most of them are former ‘dipped their toes in the water’ former instructors, who found themselves out of their depth, too, so jumped ship into the very simple job of ‘tester’. Now they would have you believe that they are the ‘experts’ in the field of driver training! The world really is mad.

    Gosh, now I feel better!

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    I am never convinced that unrefined banning provides a significant cure. Look at the restrictions placed on motorcyclists since the sixties. If one is going to take this route, do it robustly. Make 25 the minimum age for driving and you will have completely cured the problem with young drivers. Ridiculous I know, but it is similar in principle. We find it acceptable to send a man of 18 to be be blown to bits in the searing heat of Afghanistan but not to drive a car after dark. Do you see my point? It is crude, unrefined thinking. Furthermore, do you not think that young men will not go out at night and drive. We couldn’t stop them looting and pillaging last month so driving in the dark is small potatoes.

    May I ask Ms Booth from Brake to modify her quote? Evidence indicates that reform MAY make a difference, not WOULD, and it may reduce collisions not casualties. One must not be presumptuous especially in road safety.

    Roy Buchanan, Epsom
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