22 Apr 2008

NICCY backs Graduated Driving Licence plan 

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley welcomed today’s Assembly debate on the improving road safety through Graduated Driving Licences.

Earlier this year Ms Lewsley launched her policy paper on transport and road safety, which included a recommendation for Government to introduce the new form of driving licence. 

“The toll of death and injury on our roads wrecks havoc on the lives of young people and their families,” she said. “The Graduated Driving Licence is a positive step that Government can take which would help provide better, structured progression for young drivers.

“Similar schemes have been shown to reduce deaths and injuries among young drivers in other parts of the world, and I hope today’s Assembly debate will bring its introduction closer.” 

In the Commissioner’s policy paper there are details of the scheme, which would see a minimum 12 months as a learner and a requirement for at least 50 hours supervised practice. Once passed there would be an intermediate stage which would not allow unsupervised night driving and no teenage passengers when driving unsupervised. 

“While many young people will feel that these are additional hurdles to the freedom that a driving licence can bring studies in New Zealand and the US have shown that they reduce fatal injuries and car crashes.

“I hope that my policy paper recommendation and the Assembly’s commitment will help the Minister bring forward this scheme’s introduction as soon as is possible.”

NICCY’s policy paper was presented to the Assembly’s Environment Committee and the Commissioner will be following up its recommendations with the Minister.