MP calls for tighter rules around new drivers

Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater is calling for tighter legislation around new drivers to help cut down the number of deaths on the roads.

On Tuesday she introduced a new law in Parliament proposing graduated driving licences.

It is the latest stage in the road safety campaign she launched shortly after being elected in July 2021.

Under the proposed legislation, newly-qualified drivers would face certain restrictions for the first six months after passing a driving test, including a zero-alcohol limit.

Ms Leadbeater introduced her Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (New Drivers) Bill under the so-called Ten Minute Rule.

The proposal for graduated driving licences has cross-party support in the House of Commons.

The licences are backed by many road safety and motoring organisations including the AA, the RAC and Brake. Their introduction also has the support of the Association of British Insurers.

The bill would impose restrictions on all newly-qualified drivers during their initial six months as a licence-holder, with exemptions for work, medical and emergency reasons.

The restrictions would also include controls over the number of young passengers they are allowed to carry.

Figures from the Department of Transport, cited by Ms Leadbeater, show that in 2022, 29,742 people were killed or seriously injured on UK roads.

Around a fifth of all those killed or seriously injured were as a result of collisions involving cars driven by a young driver.

"We must never forget that behind that statistic there are thousands of lives, right across the country, grieving or going through unimaginable pain," said Ms Leadbetter.

"Lives changed forever and families torn apart by tragic and often avoidable collisions."

Young male car drivers aged 17-24 are four times as likely to be killed or seriously injured compared with all car drivers aged 25 or over.

The Batley and Spen MP took up the issue of graduated driving licences after meeting Dr Ian Greenwood at Westminster.

Dr Greenwood, from Halifax, lost his 12-year-old daughter, Alice, when the car her mother was driving was hit by another car in 2008. The 18-year-old driver of the other car, and his 16-year-old passenger, were also killed in the accident.

Speaking on BBC Radio Leeds, Dr Greenwood described his daughter as "forever 12", stressing that the consequences of drivers "misbehaving on our roads" can be "devastating".

Dr Greenwood has praised the "amazing" work being done by Ms Leadbeater to highlight the issue, adding "politicians haven't really been interested in road death - it's not something people want to talk about".

Ms Leadbeater's bill will receive its second reading on 17 May.

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