Northern Ireland Working Towards Keeping Young Drivers Safe

A new bill will come into force in Northern Ireland in 2018 which will introduce tougher drink drive limits, a minimum six month learning to drive period and night time restrictions on young drivers carrying passengers.

Drivers aged between 17 and 25 years old account for around 25% of road deaths in Great Britain although this age group only represents 8% of driving licence holders.

I believe we need to raise awareness of road safety issues and discuss similar measures for young drivers throughout the UK. The work RoSPA is doing is to be commended in bringing this debate to a wider audience. I have added their link at the bottom of this article.

I cannot accept that people of all ages are still being killed on our roads in 2016. Driving and using our roads should not be a game of chance. Nor is it down to the police to enforce traffic legislation. The driver training industry are more professional and capable than ever before. Driving examiners making sure that new drivers meet the required minimum standard to drive. However, we all have responsibility for our actions whether we are 17 years old or have been driving for decades. Why then do some road users put others at risk?

The publicity around driver less vehicles is interesting but they not the cure in the short or medium term. Whilst driver less vehicles may eventually provide other options regarding how we chose to use the roads in the future, driven vehicles will very much remain a feature for decades to come. New drivers will be looking to invest in their first vehicle as soon as they get the freedom bestowed upon them by their full licence. I doubt they will be off down to the google car show room any time soon.

Also, are we really convinced that driver less cars will be 100% safe. It is naïve to believe that someone will not try to modify their driver less vehicle, just as owners re map their vehicles now in pursuit of better performance or just for the satisfaction of having something no one else has or even thought of.

I accept that there are many arguments for and against restrictions post driving test. I also accept there has to be a balance between the rights of drivers to go where they want, at what time they want and with who. But should there not be checks and balances to manage foreseeable risks and action taken to minimise the potential consequences of death and serious injury arising from these risks. Deriver less cars are not here yet and will not be in common use for many years. We need to raise awareness of road safety issues, examine these risks and think about the options we have to reduce this risk.

The good news is that we have some of the safest roads in the world. However, whilst you are unlikely to be involved in a fatal or serious road traffic collision or incident, everyday someone is killed using UK roads. We need to do more to safeguard all road users.

My question is this. If Northern Ireland are introducing this Bill why are we not considering doing the same?