Call for phased system for learning to drive

Should there be a new system for novice drivers to build their skills on the way to a full licence?

Should there be a new system for novice drivers to build their skills on the way to a full licence? Picture supplied by GEM Motoring Assist - Credit: Picture supplied by GEM Motoring Assist

A graduated licensing system for novices is being suggested as a way to cut accidents among young drivers.

The UK driving test is no longer fit for purpose, and should be replaced by a graduated driver licensing system. That's the opinion of more than 90% of drivers in a survey carried out by road safety and breakdown specialist GEM Motoring Assist.

According to GEM road safety officer Neil Worth, graduated driver licensing (GDL) adds that all-important intermediate element between learner and full licence-holder, and allows new drivers to build up their skills and experience over a period of time, using clearly-marked stages.

'Where versions of GDL are already in place, the reduction in young and novice driver collisions has been remarkable,' he said. 'For example, research from TRL shows that 16-year-old drivers in the USA who learnt to drive through GDL systems 15 years ago had 37% fewer crashes than those who followed other systems.

'Elsewhere, following the introduction of GDL in New Zealand, injuries from road traffic collisions reduced by almost a quarter for 15 to 19-year-olds.'

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GEM, along with many road safety organisations, public health bodies and research institutes, believes a graduated driver licensing system should be implemented across the UK, and should include the following key components:

A minimum learning period of 12 months before taking a practical test.

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Drivers should hold 'novice' status for two years after passing the test.

A ban on novice drivers carrying passengers aged under 25.

A night-time driving curfew, unless driving to or from work.

Automatic disqualification for any driving offence.

Mr Worth added: 'GEM members are holding the government to account for failing to prioritise young driver safety, and for wasting lives and money.

'We believe that GDL, if it goes hand in hand with improvements to pubic transport across the country, could form a key part of a safer and more sustainable transport future for everyone.'

Do youu think a graduated driver licensing system would help reduce the number of accidents among young drivers? Or is there a new element you would like introduced into the driving test? Email

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