31-05-2012 New licensing plans in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland's Environment Minister Alex Attwood has tabled plans in the Northern Ireland Assembly that aim to radically overhaul driver licensing law. With mention of aiming for zero road casualties, the plans appear muddled and, when it comes to motorcycling, ill-conceived.
The minister's plans include:
- Lower provisional licence age of 16-and-a-half for cars
- The minimum age for attaining a full driving licence will be 17-and-a-half
- New drivers up to age 24 will not be allowed to carry young passengers (aged 14 to 20, except immediate family members) during their first six months post-test, unless there is a supervising driver over 21 with three years full licence in the passenger seat
- A mandatory minimum learning period of 12 months for provisional licence holders
- Post-test period will be two years, not one as is currently the case, but instead of the R plates used now, (restricted speed), there will be N plates (indicating New driver)
- Removal of the 45mph speed restriction applied to learner and restricted drivers
- Learner drivers will be allowed to take lessons on motorways when accompanied by a fully qualified, approved driving instructor in a dual-controlled car
- Compulsory logbooks for learner drivers.