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Scotland considering graduated driving licence for young drivers

Scotland wants to reduce the number of young driver deaths on its roads by introducing a graduated driving licence.

The scheme, which the government is said to be keen to introduce, would see 17- and 18-year-old drivers legally obliged to display a ‘P’ plate for 12 months after passing their test.

It would also forbid young drivers from carrying passengers under the age of 25, unless accompanied by a qualified driver of at least that age, and there would be a near-zero-tolerance alcohol limit.

It is hoped the graduated driving licence – proposed by Scottish MSP David Stewart at a RAC Foundation meeting – already used in other countries such as Australia could save as many as 22 lives and £80 million a year.

Stewart told Auto Express: “Graduated licence schemes have been introduced in many countries across the world and they are proven and evidenced to reduce fatalities amongst young and novice drivers.”

Scotland road policing chief superintendent Iain Murray added: “We are talking about people who might abide by the law in every other aspect yet fail to realise the risk they pose by driving on autopilot or failing to pay enough attention to what’s going on around them.”

Stewart also proposed plans to introduce what it calls ‘Formal Adult Warnings’ in September 2015. These would see drivers caught speeding potentially handed out a warning and roadside education as opposed to an instant fine and points on their licence. Currently there is no speed awareness course option in Scotland.

While there is no mention of a similar system coming to the rest of the UK, it would seem likely the government will at least consider implementing measures to reduce the number of young driver deaths and accidents.

Scotland reduced its drink-driving limit to 50mg per 100ml of breath in December 2014. It has since seen a 25 per cent reduction in the numbers of drivers caught over the limit, from an average of 106 drivers a week to 80.

Should the rest of the UK follow suit? Is it time young drivers lose some of their freedom in exchange for improved safety? Your thoughts appreciated.

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