Government Announces Plan To Reduce Road Traffic Accidents

Legal Experts Respond To New Road Safety Measures


Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

Serious injury experts have adopted a cautious welcome to the Government’s announcement of a series of new measures being considered to help make Britain’s roads safer.

Under the new plans learner drivers will be given motorway experience with an instructor before they can pass their test.

The Department for Transport has proposed that learner drivers, who are currently prohibited from using the motorway until they have passed their test, would be offered the opportunity to take a motorway driving lesson with an approved driving instructor in a dual-controlled car.

The move would be backed by a £2 million research scheme into driver education.

Other plans include:

:: Providing police with more funding for enforcement to empower forces to remove more dangerous drivers from the road.

:: Increasing the penalties for drivers who use a handheld phone at the wheel, from three points to four, and increasing fines from £100 to £150;

:: A Government consultation on changes to improve cycling safety;

:: Strengthening compulsory basic training (CBT) for learner motorcyclists.

The Government said the raft of proposed changes was designed to reduce the number of people killed and injured on the country's roads.

A series of consultations on the specific proposals will follow next year.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We are delivering common-sense proposals that balance tougher penalties for dangerous drivers with practical steps to help youngsters and other more vulnerable groups stay safe on our roads."

The announcements come as the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, falls and millions of drivers take to the road to make the journey to see family for Christmas.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell conducted research to suggest that there is a marked increase in enquiries arising from road traffic collisions between October and February during darker evenings and in poor weather.

As a result the firm has launched its #SaferJourneys campaign in a bid to help raise awareness of poor conditions and make the roads safer during the winter months

Expert Opinion
We've seen first-hand how a person’s life can be turned upside down as the result of injuries caused in a road traffic accident.

Exploring measures to better educate new drivers and improve bike and motorcycle safety is a step in the right direction.

It is shocking to think that presently a learner driver can pass their test in the morning having never used a motorway and drive home on one, unsupervised, the very same day.

Given that using a motorway for the first time can be an intimidating experience it makes sense to explore ways to allow learner drivers supervised and controlled access.

However, we also feel that there is an opportunity for the Government to adopt wider ranging reforms to the licensing and driver education process in the UK, which ought to be looked at pro actively.

This would include a more extended period of provisional licence, or “graduated” licensing as it is sometimes known, as well as other measures focussed on younger drivers as it is inexperience and a lack of respect for safe driving, rather than simply motorway conditions, that present the greatest risk.
Neil Whiteley, Partner