Welsh politician resurrects call for GDL

12.00 | 25 October 2017 | | 6 comments

A Welsh Assembly member has expressed his frustration that the UK Government is not considering introducing a graduated driver licensing (GDL) system, which he describes as a ‘potential game changer for road safety’.

Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure in the National Assembly for Wales, made his remarks while addressing delegates at the Road Safety in Wales conference in Cardiff on 18 October.

The event looked at how new and emerging technologies will impact on safety on Welsh roads and how behaviour change models can be applied to reduce casualties, in particular among the most high risk groups of motorcyclists and young people.

During his address, Ken Skates said: “It’s disappointing, and a source of much frustration, therefore that one potential game changer for road safety improvements, graduated driver licensing, is still not being considered by UK Government.

“It’s my belief that this is the single biggest measure we could now see to significantly improve road safety on our roads and I’d again call on the UK Government to reassess their position and act to help ensure inexperienced drivers, and those who share the road with them, are as well protected as possible.”

A number of road safety stakeholders and individuals believe GDL is key to reducing collisions and casualties caused by young and inexperienced drivers.

Sarah Jones, Public Health Wales has been campaigning for its introduction for almost a decade. She outlined the case for GDL at the 2013 National Road Safety Conference, and received support at that time from the DOE Northern Ireland (now DfI) and ACPO (now NPCC).

Earlier this year, GEM Motoring Assist called on the Government to introduce a GDL system, pointing to a survey which suggests there is public support for the move. At the time Neil Worth, GEM’s road safety officer, accused the Government of ‘failing to prioritise the safety of young drivers’.

In January 2016 the Northern Ireland Assembly passed a Bill which introduced a GDL system for newly qualified drivers. Measures in the Bill include a six-month mandatory learning period and restrictions on carrying young passengers between the hours of 11.00pm and 6.00am.

Category: Young drivers.



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    I’m not sure that there is any evidence at all that a GDL would make our roads any safer, so I cannot imagine them as a “potential game changer for road safety”. On the other hand, I can imagine that if *all* youngsters were taught to drive as a requirement of the national curriculum, and preferably before they reached puberty, we *would* see a dramatic improvement in road safety. The problem as I see it is that driving is currently seen as glamorous and something that only ‘adults’ are allowed to do (like smoking, drinking alcohol & co.) and achieving the ‘right to drive’ (by passing the test), mixed with the turmoil caused by adolescent hormones in young people, results in a recipe for disaster. If driving was as regular as reading and writing, and everyone could just do it – whether rich, poor, young or old, there would be no glamour or imagined status or superiority attached – and thus one of the causes of so many young lives being destroyed would be eliminated.

    Charles, England
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    In principle, GDL for car drivers would be good. However we need to ensure that the detail would work for those young people living miles off public transport routes and those who work unsociable hours, both of whom rely on mates for lifts to/from work. Some versions of GDL I’ve heard mentioned would wreck their job prospects.

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

    We do indeed have a GDL for those passing their driving test – the New Drivers Act which means they lose their licence and revert to learner status if they get 6 points within two years of passing. What few advocates of GDL mention when quoting other countries is that they invariably have a worse road safety record than we do AND a much more lenient driving test.

    Andy, Warwick
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    The failure of our government to introduce GDL and ISA surely borders on insanity. It’s certainly a form of cruelty. ore power to our Welshman’s elbow!

    Andrew Fraser, Stirling
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I would suggest that if we look at the past for motorcycle accidents its going to be the 35 and over age group or back to biking riders on pocket rockets or race replicas as they also called.

    Many of the accidents would be around or shortly after lunch time between 1 and 3pm.ish. when after arriving at a destination they take food and beverages and then ride off with the same gusto as they had arrived with. The same applies after tea or early evening when on their way home.

    Many of the accidents would be on inappropriate overtakes or on straights with bends following and perhaps downhill or into the sun or in a place shaded from the sun such as a road following a river course and also probably in wooded areas.

    Bob Craven Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    We already have GDL in the UK – but it only currently applies to motorcycles/all PTWs.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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