From 19 January 2013 driving licenses will look different to comply with new EU rules.
On 19 January 2013 the European Union Third Directive on driving licenses comes into force. All new driving licenses from this date will have to meet the terms of the Directive. The changes will mainly affect motorcyclists, lorry, bus and minibus drivers and those who tow trailers. For more informations go to Gov.uk
Ministers may consider moves to ban young drivers in England and Wales from carrying anyone except family members as passengers, reports suggest.
Young drivers could be banned from carrying non-family passengersYoung drivers face a ban on carrying anyone other than family members as passengers under proposals being considered by the Government to cut the number of road accidents involving teenagers.
Other options include banning novice drivers from carrying passengers altogether.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr McLoughlin said he was ready to look at measures which could reduce the the number of accidents involving novice motorists and cut the cost of providing them insurance cover.
According to the Association of British Insurers, which submitted the proposals to the Department for Transport, one in eight drivers is under 25, but they account for one third of the number of people who die on the country’s roads.
It estimates that an 18-year old driver is three times more likely to be involved in a crash than a motorist 30 years older. In 2011, drivers between 17 and 19 were involved in 12,000 crashes of which more than half resulted in serious or fatal injuries.
“I read regular reports where three or four young people have been killed in a car and it’s a new driver and you wonder what happened,” Mr McLoughlin said.
“It is not an area I have closed my mind to, far from it.”
Mr McLoughlin's remarks came against a backdrop of mounting concern at fatal accidents involving young drivers. Last month Eleanor Coleman, 19, from Great Yarmouth was sentenced to 15 months youth detention for killing her best by driving her Fiat Punto into a lorry parked in a layby following a Halloween party. The crash took place at 5 am.
Earlier this week Naimo Jones, 19, was jailed for six months after killing her best friend in a car crash in Blackpool. The court heard she was showing off when she lost control of her Vauxhall Corsa as it hurtled into a blind left-hand bend.
The proposals were given a "wholehearted welcome" by the road safety charity, Brake. "We have campaigned for many years for the Government to overhaul the system for training and testing drivers.
"Placing restrictions on newly qualified drivers would signficantly improve safety and help to reduce the appalling number of serious casualties that involve inexperienced novices.
"We know from research that young drivers are far more likely to crash when they have passengers of their age in the car. Placing this restriction makes sense."
The ABI believes restricting the number of passengers is a move that the Government should take. A YouGov survey to be released next week by the insurance group will show significant public support for curbs on young drivers.
The survey will show that 71 per cent of Britons would back a limit on the number of young passengers that newly qualified young drivers are allowed to carry.
It will also show that 58 per cent of people support a curfew on night-time driving between 11pm and 4am for newly-qualified young drivers, unless they are driving to and from work.
The ABI said that both limits should be in place for the first six months after a person between the ages of 17 and 24 gets their driving licence.
James Dalton, who overseas motor policy at the ABI, said that "radical action" is needed to "reduce the tragic waste of young lives on our roads, especially among the 17-24 age group".
"A car is potentially a lethal weapon," said Mr Dalton.
An ABI spokesman added: "Any restrictions to limit the number of passengers young newly qualified young drivers can carry for an initial period after passing their test would be a step in the right direction."
The Government has faced calls from the ABI and road safety groups to introduce what is known as a graduated licence, which would impose additional restrictions on drivers who have just passed their test.
In Northern Ireland for example, novice motorists must carry an R-plate and are not allowed to drive faster than 45 mph until they have been driving for a year.
The only restriction faced by novice drivers - irrespective of their age - is that they can have their licence revoked if they accumulate six penalty points within two years of parking their test.
How new restrictions would be enforced remains unclear. Road safety experts believe that young drivers who infringe the rules could face points on their licence or being sent on a course aimed at novice motorists.
Up until now the Government has resisted moves to introduce a graduated licence in England and Wales despite calls from organisations, such as the RAC Foundation, for such a move.
"We need to stop young people killing themselves - and others - on the roads. Casualties have been in decline but this age group is still shockingly over-represented in the stats,” said the Foundation’s director, Professor Stephen Glaister.
“If a modest curb on driving privileges can lead to a meaningful drop in death and injuries - and evidence from abroad suggests it can - then we would support some form of graduated licencing.”
Edmund King, the AA’s president, however, voiced doubts on imposing a ban on carrying passengers.
“It is something we think is extremely impractical,” he said. “We think it is sometimes useful to have a designated driver, who takes three mates home rather than having them travel in separate cars.”
"I can't see how this will be enforced. How can you tell whether somebody in the car is a family member or not? What family members are included? Do they mean someone older? What is their role?
"These things sound reasonable but in practical terms they are very tricky"
Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety, said more work needed to be done before young drivers took their test.
“Young drivers remain a key area where we need to make progress. They are the economic future of our country.
“As well as looking at post-test restrictions, we also need to improve driver training and instruction and the quality of learning. IN that way, we can build quality driver learning.”
Driving examiners who are members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union could take strike action on Friday 30 November 2012.
To find out more go to DSA
Customer service centre DSA’s customer service centre for practical driving tests might also be affected by strike action on Friday 30 November. You’ll still be able to
book, change or cancel practical driving tests online on GOV.UK.
Theory testsTheory tests aren’t affected by the strike action and will be taking place as planned.
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