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New drivers could face more restrictions

Newly qualified drivers could face more restrictions as part of new plans being proposed by Government to improve road safety.

The plans come following a number of tragedies in the Isle of Man involving novice drivers and their passengers over the past 18 months. They include:

  • extending the period of R-plate restrictions from one to two years
  • limiting R-plate drivers to carrying only one passenger
  • introducing a curfew for R-Plate drivers between 12 midnight and 5am
  • banning R-plate drivers if they accumulate six penalty points

Consideration will also be given to reducing the R-plate period of drivers who undertake and pass additional training.

Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK said:

‘The safety of people on our roads is a priority and the high level of engagement in the consultation shows just how important this subject is to the Manx public. New drivers are among our most vulnerable road users and the Department’s proposals are intended to develop their experience behind the wheel in the safest way possible.’

The Minister added:

‘New drivers are often those in the 16 to 24 age bracket, so we want to strike the right balance between making things safer without unduly restricting young people’s social freedoms and economic opportunities.’

The proposed extension of the R-plate period and the introduction of a curfew for new drivers can be implemented by the Department by amending the Driving Licence and Test Regulations 2007. Measures to limit R-plate drivers to carrying one passenger and ban those who accumulate six penalty points involve changes to primary legislation and would require Tynwald approval.

John Houghton MHK said:

‘Driving provides independence and mobility, but it also comes with great responsibility. Figures show that new drivers are more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal accident, so we are proposing new measures that address the risks in a balanced and proportionate way.’