Proposals to introduce a ‘graduated driving licence’ for new drivers have been broadly welcomed by the fleet industry.
Under the plans, young drivers (under 25 years of age) who have just passed their test (within the previous 12 months) will not be allowed to carry passengers in their car aged under 25. The amendments to the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act are intended as a safety measure. Road safety charity Brake say that drivers under the age of 25 are four times more likely to have a fatal accident if they are driving with other people in their same age group.
Motorists are already banned if they receive more than six penalty points in their first two years of driving.
The fleet industry has generally reacted positively to the proposals, although some bodies have expressed concerns about how the new licences will affect people under the age of 25 who drive for work.
“I’ve seen friends lose children, because of young drivers driving erratically at night, so I’m fully supportive of the proposals”, said Paul Hollick, chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP).
“I think we've just got to appreciate that it takes quite a while to get experienced in terms of road flow, motorways and driving that you don't necessarily do during your driving lessons and your driving test.”
Dale Eynon, director of Defra Group Fleet Services, said: “We employ a lot of graduates and we have looked at changing the rules around whether we have higher restrictions on our younger drivers who are under 25.
“Do we limit the cars we provide them with for business purposes or do we restrict them in other ways? They are no higher risk in terms of the number of collisions or the number of speeding fines, or parking fines. I wonder how much of this is driven by people who probably don't even have a licence who are involved in collisions.”
The graduated licence proposals have been backed by Support for Victims of Road Crashes – an advisory group to the Department of Transport (DfT) – and Jo Shiner, the National Police Chief's Council Roads Policing lead.