NFYFC urges Government to resist young driver curfew

12.00 | 14 October 2013 | | 5 comments

The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs has urged the Government to consider the potential impact of new steps to improve young driver safety on young people working agriculture (Farmers’ Guardian).

While NFYFC says it supports the core recommendation for a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system, it is concerned about the impact of a night time curfew and restrictions on carrying passengers for newly qualified drivers.

Measures for newly qualified drivers in a report prepared by TRL for the DfT include a night time driving curfew between 10pm and 5am (unless accompanied by a passenger aged over 30 years) and a ban on carrying passengers under 30-years-old during a probation period.

Milly Wastie, NFYFC chairman, said young people working in the agricultural sector could be affected by a curfew, especially during peak seasons when working late nights and early mornings is essential.

Milly Wastie said: “While we support the introduction of measures such as a GDL, we ask that in the preparation of the Green Paper into young driver safety, consideration is given to young people living in isolated rural areas.

“Due to a lack of public transport, rural young people rely on a car to get to their place of education or work. Those with jobs in agriculture, especially during peak seasons such as harvest, may often be required to work outside of the suggested curfew times of 10pm-5am.”

Click here to read the full Farmers’ Guardian news report.


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    As a lifelong “Townie” I’d like to say that I lament the unnecessary death of a teenager in the country as much as in the city. I should add that there are many people in cities who would in practice be disadvantaged by such a curfew. But like possessions and houses, we expand our activities to fill the freedoms that we have, and contemplating a reduction in freedom is always unwelcome. We are however adaptive creatures and while the transition from one state to another can be painful, we do adapt to a new status quo. Perhaps if thinking were focused on how to make this idea work rather than opting out, it would be better for all. Unless, that is, the objectors have a better idea. In any case, insurance companies may quickly latch onto opting out as a reason for an increased premium, possibly with some justification.

    Tim Philpot
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    Milly and Honor have highlighted how difficult it is to balance protecting economic opportunities for those disadvantaged due to transport limitations against reducing risk to vulnerable sectors of society.

    Research we published earlier in the year in conjunction with NFYFC (‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’) showed that young drivers who live in rural areas are 44% more likely to be involved in an injury collision than their urban counterparts. The analysis found that certain collision factors were a function of living in the countryside and were applicable to rural drivers of all ages (rural and 60mph roads featuring highly) and that other factors applied to young drivers of both urban and rural residence (such as single vehicle collisions and providing positive breath tests). Most importantly, it found there were certain factors unique to rural young drivers, such being 63% more likely to be involved in a collision in the dark than urban young drivers and 45% more than rural adult drivers. This is likely to be partly due to working (and thus driving) at unusual times but as rural adult drivers will also be driving at these times, inexperience/age could be presenting greater challenges for night time driving for the young living in the countryside.

    From a road safety point of view, night-time restrictions would seem to be the obvious answer but as pointed out, this will negatively impact work opportunities. It will be difficult to implement exemptions for rural residents without compromising the need to protect those most at risk – and therefore presents quite a dilemma to us all.

    Tanya Fosdick, Road Safety Analysis
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    I agree with Honor. Having lived and worked in somewhere busy like Brighton & Hove and then had 20 or more years in very rural parts of the country, I know personally that transport is crucial for young people ‘out in the sticks’. The well meaning intentions for road safety should not be allowed to penalise young drivers who live in rural communities. That won’t do anything for the Tackling Poverty Action Plan we have here in Wales. Perhaps ‘townie’ based policies need to go through a rural impact assessment?

    Pat, Wales
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    The point that Milly has raised is important – young people in rural areas may finish work at midnight or later if they work in pubs or restaurants and those in agriculture may be travelling to work at 04.30 a.m. – milking starts early. They travel significant distances (a 40 or 50 mile round trip to college or work isn’t unusual) and there often isn’t a public transport option.

    With 24 hour supermarkets in larger towns too, the employment access is a very real issue that must be taken seriously.

    I agree with Graham that we don’t want to see a long list of exemptions that could make enforcement next to impossible, but we do need to balance the road safety of young people with their need for access to work and education and their personal safety in a well thought out way. It will be a compromise.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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    I have every sympathy for the points expressed but I really hope that if we do end up with any restrictions we won’t then get a long list of exemptions. A general problem with our regulations which are introduced for road safety reasons end up with a list of people for whom it does not apply and apart from national emergencies regulations should apply to all and there really needs to be very good reasons why they should not apply to some.

    Graham Feest
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