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North road safety campaigner still pushing for Graduated Licence Scheme

9th December 2013

Highlands & Islands (Labour) MSP and road safety campaigner, David Stewart who set up the Sensible Driving – Always Arriving campaign, back in 2010, after the death of two local Inverness teenagers, has not given up his hope to have a graduated licence scheme for young and new drivers introduced in Scotland as a pilot.

Speaking earlier today he said “ I have lobbied the UK Government long and hard on this issue. I have written to subsequent Secretary of States for Transport, communicated with the Scottish Government and liaised with the Police over this matter and to be honest I thought I saw a ‘jink’ of light, as there appeared to be some movement from the UK Government. I am satisfied that the Scottish Government are generally supportive. Earlier this year an English MP had tried to introduce a Bill called the Graduated Licence Act 2013,but this Bill has not yet reached stage two”.

He continued “I have written to the Rt Hon Patrick Macloughlin again today, to ask what the latest Government position is with regards to the Graduated Licence Scheme”.

He went on “I think our colleague Dr Sarah Jones from Cardiff University, who carried out 10 years of research into road collisions and young drivers says it all when she recently said ‘ It may seem harsh to place restrictions on young people at a time when they are craving freedom. But, unfortunately, the crashes that young people are involved in injure and kill many innocent road users of all ages. It is also important to remember that while we worry about the effect of a Graduated Licence on ability to get to work or school, the proportion of young people who learn to drive is now lower than ever. Amongst 17 to 19 year olds, only around 25% learn to drive. That means that 75% do not see being able to drive as vital to their work or educational prospects. We also know that from surveys done in other parts of the world, only 2-8% of teens who do drive, report that they felt that a Graduated Licence affected their ability to get to work or school’.

David Stewart concluded “ I am not giving up this cause and yes it has been nearly four years I have been driving this campaign forward, but I am going to keep going with the help and support of my partners”.

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