The opening session on day two of the National Road Safety Conference included presentations from Dr Sarah Jones, Public Health Wales, and Iain Greenway, DOE Northern Ireland, who passionately and powerfully made the case for the introduction of a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system across the UK.
Sarah Jones has been campaigning for the introduction of GDL for the past five years. After presenting the stark casualty and collision stats for young drivers, Sarah went on to counter the reasons that are often given by those who do not support GDL.
She was enthusiastically supported by CC Suzette Davenport, ACPO lead for roads policing, when she dismissed the myth that the "police are too busy to enforce GDL".
Turning to the notion that "just because it works in other parts of the world there is no good reason why it should work in the UK", she pointed out that GDL works in countries as diverse as the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
And with regard to restrictions being "unfair", she suggested that the "same could be said of crashes, casualties and fatalities".
IAIN Greenway delivered a very polished presentation outlining Northern Ireland’s impressive progress with regard to casualty reduction.
With regard to GDL, he explained that the model being adopted in Northern Ireland includes: a minimum mandatory learning period; adjustment of licensing ages; a new syllabus and mandatory logbook; passenger restrictions; and motorway driving.
Explaining the exclusion of night time restrictions and a minimum number of driving lessons, he explained that it was a case of "balancing societal needs and road safety".
At the moment the Northern Ireland proposal is going through legislative process and will then be implemented and backed by public information and advertising.
All conference presentations will be uploaded to the event website in the coming days.
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