Stewart launches new bid to hurry along road safety measures

ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGNING MSP David Stewart has written to Scotland’s Transport Minister seeking clarification on if his government still supports proposals for a Graduated Licence Scheme.

David Stewart MSP said that some eight years and 24 road safety campaigns he is still attempting to persuade successive ministers of the merits of such a scheme in Scotland.

Mr Stewart, who is an MSP for the Highlands and Moray, said: “In 2015 I met with Dr Neale Kinnear of the Transport Research Laboratory to discuss further Graduated Driver Licensing (GDLS) and Dr Kinnear’s work in relation to same.

“Not surprisingly it was revealed that research indicates that the two elements that contribute to road collisions amongst novice drivers are age and inexperience. While age is clearly an important factor, all novice drivers are at greater risk when first licensed as a result of their inexperience.

“Key findings from the systematic review revealed that Graduated Driver Licensing (GDLS) is effective at reducing collisions and the quality of the evidence is high.

“The public health benefits of a GDL system for new drivers are indisputable. GDL effectiveness is not limited to only young drivers. Minimum required practice and a minimum learner period are common and enhance GDL effectiveness and night time restrictions and passenger restrictions are considered to be the most effective components.”

He insists that reducing exposure for new drivers carrying passengers, a system used in several other countries for new drivers, is a highly effective method of increasing road safety.

He added: “For drivers over 30 years old, carrying any passengers reduces crash risk – so new drivers over 30 years old should not therefore be restricted from carrying passengers. Night time restrictions are effective for new drivers of all ages. For each additional hour that is restricted, effectiveness is increased.

“A lower alcohol limit and a ban on mobile phone use are likely to reduce new driver collision risk. Such components may also aid the development of positive habits.
“Education or training should not be used to reduce the time with which new drivers are engaged with the GDL system. Education and training does however have an important role in supporting driver development and the components and mechanisms of GDL.

Back in 2015 in Scotland 12.5% of all road collision involve a driver aged between 17 and 19 years. If a pilot was to be introduced in Scotland alone up to 299 casualties could be prevented and there would be 45 less killed or seriously injured. Financially we could make savings of at least £18.3million.

“An earlier study carried out by Dr Sarah Jones of Cardiff University actually evidenced that if a GDLS were to be introduced in Scotland up to 22 lives could be saved and up to £80 million to the Scottish economy. Either way and in view of either study this is surely a win-win situation.”