Northern Ireland consultation on proposals regarding learner and restricted drivers and graduated driver licensing

On 15 March 2011, the Minister for the Environment in Northern Ireland launched a consultation on proposals to change the learner and restricted driver schemes and on options for a system of graduated driver licensing (GDL).
The paper examines the nature and extent of Northern Ireland’s ‘new driver problem’ and tries to identify the factors which might explain the issues around the over-representation of newly qualified drivers in road traffic collisions.  It considers the need for change and how that might be achieved through a combination of reforming driver training and testing, additional regulation of how people learn to drive and/or placing different restrictions on newly qualified drivers to be gradually be lifted as they gain experience.
Twelve potential measures are considered in the consultation paper.  Many of these have been judged to have had a positive impact on new driver safety in other parts of the world and could have similar success in Northern Ireland.   The proposed measures include requiring learner drivers to take a minimum number of driving lessons and to hold a provisional licence for a minimum period before they can take their practical driving test and either raising or removing the current 45 mph speed limit on learner and restricted drivers.  The paper also looks at the potential benefits of restricting new drivers for a time from driving at night or with passengers and whether the current one year restricted period for new drivers should be extended to two years.  
The Department of the Environment welcomes responses to the consultation paper which is available at
The consultation will run until 19 July 2011.