Gov to tackle young driver accident rates

A meeting between transport ministers and representatives of the insurance industry took place yesterday, with the express purpose of considering how to tackle the high rate of road traffic accidents among young drivers.

One in five fatal road accidents in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK involve a motorist under the age of 24, and the risk of an accident involving an inexperienced driver is shown to increase drastically at night time. The Association of British Insurers had already announced some of its proposals to tackle the accident rate among young drivers a few weeks ago, and many of those were discussed in yesterday's meeting, including:

  • Minimum learning period of 6 to 12 months before learner drivers can take the test
  • Extension of restricted 'probation' period after passing the test which means 6 penalty points results in disqualification (as opposed to the usual 12 points)
  • Restriction on the number of passengers new drivers can carry
  • Implementation of a zero-alcohol driving limit
  • Curfew that would prevent young motorists from driving after a certain time
  • Changes to driving test to improve opportunity examiners have to assess the ability of new drivers

A government green paper containing recommendations for changes to current legislation is expected later in the spring of this year. It is not yet clear whether all the proposals are in respect of young drivers, or all new drivers regardless of their age. Some questions in that respect will have to be clarified. For example, would an adult in their 30s who is late to take their driving test be subjected to the same restrictions?

If you have been accused of a driving offence in Northern Ireland Wilson Nesbitt Solicitors can provide you with advice and representation in both the Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court. To contact one of our criminal solicitors please call us on freephone 0800 8400549.