Minister calls for consideration of Graduate Driver Licensing

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Transport Minister Keith Brown called on the UK government to consider proposals for Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) for new and young drivers, or for devolved powers to do so.

Mr Brown outlined the likely benefits of GDL which aims to reduce the risk for young and novice drivers by allowing them to build-up motoring experience under low-risk conditions.

The transport minister said young people aged 17-25 make up 10% of licence holders yet they accounted for 23% of drivers involved in road accidents over the last five years in Scotland.

He said there was clear evidence that GDL may save up to 19 lives per year on Scotland's roads and he found the refusal by the UK government to consider the proposal "absolutely bewildering".

Labour MSP Mark Griffin said he backed the Scottish government on the issue and said a GDL system would reduce road accidents and insurance premiums for young drivers.

Alex Johnstone, speaking for the Conservatives, raised a number of concerns about possible elements of a GDL system including restrictions on driving at night.

Highland and Islands MSP David Stewart has campaigned for GDL since the parents of Callum Matheson approached him in 2010, following their 17 year-old son's death in a crash.

Callum's 17 year-old friend Ahlee Jackson was also killed in the accident.

Mr Stewart said "GDL is an innovative idea whose time has come" and it could "prevent the death and injuries of young drivers".

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