Tough motoring legislation introduced into NI Assembly

By Gary Adair

The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill has been introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly with tougher alcohol limits and tighter controls on learner drivers.

The legislation reduces the alcohol limits and creates a zero tolerance limit for newly qualified divers and professional drivers. Environment Minister Mark H Durkan says the changes are "challenging but bold", and feels they are "necessary if we are to pursue an ambition of zero road deaths". He says the lower drink drive limits are already in place in many other countries in Europe.

The new legislation targets newly qualified drivers with a raft of changes, including:

  • Graduated Driving Licensing - post test period will now last for 2 years
  • Mandatory minimum learning period of 12 months on a provisional licence (age for application for provisional licence lowered from 17 to 16 and a half)
  • New drivers up to the age of 24 can only carry one teenager at a time (unless immediate family) during first 6 months after passing test
  • Zero alcohol allowed while driving during the 2 year post test period

Mr Durkan says the legislation is tackling young drivers because statistics show that drivers aged between 17 and 24 were responsible for 42 per cent of fatal collisions despite only comprising 10 per cent of all car licence holders.

If you require legal advice from a solicitor in Northern Ireland specialising in motoring offences contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 0546.