9 April 2018
Highlands & Islands MSP and long term road safety campaigner, David Stewart, is delighted to learn that after eight years of campaigning, the UK Government are to trial a form of graduated licence.
“ Away back in 2010, after the unfortunate and tragic deaths of two 17 year old teenagers in Inverness, I started a campaign to improve road safety, which I proposed was carried out through a form of graduated licence (GDL) introduced in Scotland as a pilot.
"My initial campaign was called the ‘Sensible Driving – Always Arriving’ campaign and over the last eight years I worked closely with Dr Sarah Jones of Cardiff University, who could evidence that in Scotland alone, if a form of GDL were introduced, up to 22 lives could be saved and up to £80 million to the Scottish economy.
“I met with and also communicated with representatives from the Transport Research Laboratory, The RAC Foundation and BRAKE the road safety charity, along with other similar like organisations.
"I contacted successive Cabinet Ministers and their deputies on this one issue alone and finally, in response to my most recent correspondence, Jesse Norman MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, wrote to advise me that the Government have now decided to introduce a form of GDL in Northern Ireland as a pilot with the potential to roll out across the rest of the UK.
“The Northern Irish Government have consulted on secondary legislation to bring a number of provisions into force during 2019/20 including passenger carrying restrictions and a six month mandatory learning period.
"This is excellent news and just rewards for all the hard efforts of my team. I am delighted that most of the measures I and my team have been asking for have been proposed via a real world randomised control trial in Northern Ireland.
“ In order to further our road safety work, I set up the group, North Of Scotland Driver Awareness Team (NOSDAT) and it is the tireless work of this team that has brought this result.
"More satisfying is the knowledge that many grieving parents who have worked on this issue with us or have contacted us regarding tragic road deaths related to this issue, will now see that their efforts were not in vain."
David concluded, “ Generally Scottish politicians, road safety organisations and other like bodies were in support of such a scheme.
"Our primary task was to convince the UK Government of the benefits and we have done that now."