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Night driving ban planned for new drivers to reduce road accidents in England

Christian Fernsby |
New drivers could be banned from the roads at night in a radical safety action plan in England, it was announced Thursday.

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A graduated driver licensing scheme is to be explored by the Department for Transport (DfT) in a bid to cut car crashes involving new drivers.

As part of a two-year DfT study, researchers are to look at the impact of limiting what less experienced drivers can do in their first few months on the roads to ease them into a lifetime of safe driving.

The British government said it will commit in its road safety action plan, to be published later this week, to exploring whether graduated driver licensing should be introduced in England.

New schemes could put restrictions on new drivers, such as a minimum learning period, not driving at night, or not driving with passengers under a certain age in their cars.

"One-in-5 new drivers crash within their first year on the road, and so any changes would be designed to help reduce this number and improve road safety," said the DfT.

Road Safety Minister Michael Ellis said: "Getting a driving license is exciting for young people, but it can also be daunting as you're allowed to drive on your own for the first time.

"We want to explore in greater detail how graduated driver licensing, or aspects of it, can help new drivers to stay safe and reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads."

Graduated licensing schemes already operate in New Zealand; New South Wales and Victoria in Australia; New York and California in the United States; Ontario and British Columbia in Canada and in Sweden.

The DfT said such schemes have previously been rejected in Britain due to concerns that it would adversely affect the ability of young people to get on in life, potentially restricting education and jobs.

"Conducting further research means the department can build an evidence base to fully understand how graduated driver might work," added the DfT.

Currently, new drivers have their licences revoked if they accumulate six points within the first two years, equivalent to points for using a handhold cellphone while driving or two speeding offences.

Any changes to driver licensing will be consulted on before being introduced, said the DfT.

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