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Road Safety Authority 'interested' in tough UK restrictions on young drivers

One of the measures being considered in the UK is a curfew for young drivers.

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THE ROAD SAFETY Authority has said that it is watching closely two radical UK measures intended to reduce dangerous driving and road fatalities among young people. 

Moyagh Murdock, the CEO of the Road Safety Authority, told TheJournal.ie that Northern Ireland’s policy of limiting the number of young passengers a newly qualified driver can carry, as well as a curfew being considered in the UK, were particularly “interesting”. 

In Northern Ireland, new drivers under the age of 24 are not allowed to carry young passengers – except family members – for six months after passing their test. 

Plans had been in place to introduce tougher measures in the North – but the collapse of power-sharing limited the progress. 

The UK is moving towards a “graduated license system”, which would introduce restrictions on newly qualified drivers – including a curfew that would ban new drivers from the road at night. 

While the plan is in its early stages, the Department for Transport in the UK is looking at the feasibility of the idea. 

Murdock said that she was “observing” the approach taken in Northern Ireland, which was announced in 2012. 

“Undoubtedly, it’s hard to enforce,” she said. “It is something to get the message out to the young provisional driver and they know that this is a restriction, so it’s almost self-enforcing.”

On the curfew, Murdock stressed that the RSA was not advocating the idea but was “interested”. 

“I would not be naive enough to think that that would go down very well in this country, There would be an outcry from some of the rural parts so we’re not advocating it. We are interested and looking to see what it produces,” she said. 

“I’m not sure how enforceable something like that would be but it’s interesting that that’s what they’ve done to try and protect their young drivers,” she added. 

Earlier this week, both the Gardaí and the Road Safety Authority appealed to young male drivers to stay safe on the roads this weekend. 

There have been 118 people killed on Irish roads in 2019 – four more than this time last year. 

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Gardaí will be stepping up activity during non-peak hours this weekend.

New data, published by the RSA this week, shows that men account for 87% of road users killed between 10pm and 6am, as well as 87% of pedestrians killed during this period. 

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