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Young Drivers: What are the New Licence & Road Rules

Aug 22, 2019

Recent news has focussed heavily on calls from the Department for Transport (DfT) for a graduated licence system to be introduced for young and newly qualified drivers.

The DfT’s position on driving licences for new and young drivers comes as a result of the continued desire to improve road safety.

The key figures being quoted by the DfT, backing up their plans to introduce road rules which affect young drivers, are that one in five newly qualified drivers are involved in a collision in their first year of driving.

What are the proposed changes to young driver road rules?

The graduated licence system currently being discussed focuses mainly on restricting newly qualified drivers from driving at night. This is thought to be in a bid to improve road safety. It can be more challenging to drive at night particularly if you have had little practice or experience.

The proposed changes could also see stricter rules in areas such as

– A minimum learning period before it is possible to take a driving test
– A limit on passenger age/number of passengers
– A reduction in legal alcohol limits
– Mandatory use of P-Plates which are currently optional. P plates indicate a driver has recently passed their test

No indication on how long such restrictions would remain in place following a driver passing their test have been suggested as yet by the government.

Likewise, these changes are unlikely to come into play anytime soon as the next update on how the licence system would work in practice is expected at some point in 2020.

What are the current road rules for young drivers?

There are a few areas where young drivers and newly qualified drivers are currently subject to slightly different rules to those who have been driving for a longer period of time. Yet in the main, key road rules apply to all drivers.

Penalty Points

Young and newly qualified drivers are banned from driving if they accumulate over 6 penalty points within their first 2 years of driving. After the first 2 years of driving this increases to 12 penalty points before a ban is automatically applied.

Motorway Driving

As of 2018, learner drivers are now allowed to have lessons on motorways if they are driving a car with dual controls and are driving with an approved driving instructor. They must also be driving in England, Scotland or Wales.

Before 2018, learner drivers were not allowed to have motorway driving lessons.

Driving on the motorway still doesn’t feature in the driving test so it is not a mandatory part of the learning process. Yet once you have passed your test you are free to drive on motorways.

Given the differences in motorway driving it may be worth asking your instructor for some motorway driving lesson time to give you experience and confidence once you pass your test.

Be aware of the rules of the road

Currently young drivers and newly qualified drivers are subject to the same road rules as other drivers once they have passed their test. This includes areas such as speed limits, alcohol limits, use of mobile devices whilst driving amongst others. So, it is important that you are up to date with what the rules state before you take to the roads.

Road rules are constantly changing, so whether you are a new driver or consider yourself an experienced driver, it is important you keep up to date with any changes to ensure road safety for all users. At Anthony Jones, this is something that we believe should be taken seriously so we keep up to date with any changes and feature them in our news and insight updates.

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