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.