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New research supporting Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) restrictions urges the UK to impose stricter measures on newly qualified drivers. 

The study, conducted by the TRL – The Future of Transport Group – suggests GDL regulations would pose a minimal impact on new drivers while vastly improving their safety. 

GDL seeks to impose limitations on newly qualified drivers, many of whom are young, to encourage steady progress and experience in the critical few months that follow their test.

These limitations, typically target known risk situations, include a ban on driving in the dark and carrying peer-age passengers.

Other countries such as Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand have introduced GDL rules on their roads. The UK meanwhile, voted against implementing GDL back in 2020. 

This decision however could be about to change as the Government continues to look at ways to protect younger drivers. numbers show that while 17 to 24-year-olds make up only 7% of drivers, they are involved in 20% of serious and fatal road accidents.

International evidence shows that GDL can reduce collisions and trauma from collisions involving young drivers by 20-40%. Authors of the TRL study concluded that implementing GDL restrictions would not cause an adverse impact on young drivers, reasoning that:

“This is because all stakeholders (new drivers, and their friends and families; employers; and service providers) were found to adapt to restrictions, with evidence showing that exemptions and changes in travel patterns help people to maintain the most important elements of their mobility, while still benefitting from well-evidenced improvements in safety.”

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Rather than limiting young people’s life chances, GDL is all about ensuring they can seize them safely. Immediately after young people pass their driving tests they are at the point of greatest risk, but the evidence from overseas is that a framework of minimal restrictions and exemptions would enable these new drivers to access a world of opportunity in the safest possible way for themselves and other road users.”

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