31 December 2016
Highlands &Islands (Including Moray) MSP and long time road safety campaigner, David Stewart, welcomes the UK Governments announcement that learner drivers will be allowed to learn to drive on motorways.
"It makes total sense and something I have been campaigning for over almost seven years as part of a form of graduated licence," he said.
"Expecting new drivers to suddenly be able to drive on a motorway when they never trained to do so is just a recipe for disaster.
"Over the past few years I have written to and met with successive Transport Ministers with regards to a form of graduated licence being introduced, to reduce the high number of fatalities amongst young people on the roads.
"Back in 2010, as a result of work we did with DR. Sarah Jones, from Cardiff University, she was able to show us that after 10 years of study she carried out, she was able to establish that up to 22 lives could be saved on Scottish roads alone if we had a form of graduated licence and up to £80million could be saved to the Scottish economy.
David continued :
"I met with staff from the Transport Research Laboratory and the RAC Foundation relevant to this whole issue and all were positive towards the outcomes of the introduction of a form of graduated licence."
"Research carried out by the Transport Research Laboratory(TRL) revealed that in Scotland alone 12.5% of all road collision involve a driver aged between 17 and 19 years.
"Alarmingly, in the Highlands and Grampian areas 15.7 % of all collisions involve a driver aged between 17 and 19 years.
"In these areas alone we, could reduce the casualties by 64 and prevent those killed or seriously injured by 13, if a pilot graduated licence scheme was introduced.
"Earlier this year the Government announced that they were providing £2million to conduct further research into possible improvements to the driver training package, which I welcomed. Now I would like to see available for new drivers in the Highlands &Islands an online simulator system for motorway driving, that would allow such learner drivers the experience of driving on a motorway, albeit on line.
"I will be writing to the Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, seeking an early meeting to further discuss my proposals for the introduction of a form of graduated licence."