New drivers face nightime driving ban

Published 18 July 2019

A graduated driver licence may be introduced in a bid to cut road accidents.

Restrictions being considered include a ban on night time driving and a restriction to driving with passengers under a certain age in the car.

As part of the Department for Transport's two-year action plan, which has been launched off the back of an eight-year peak of drink-drive deaths, the Government has said it will explore whether graduated driver licensing — or a similar scheme — should be introduced in England.

One in five (20 per cent) of new drivers crash within their first year on the road, but similar schemes have been previously rejected due to concerns that it would adversely limit the ability of young people to get to college, university or places of work. 

IAM Roadsmart, a UK charity for road safety, has voiced its support for a lower drink drive limit in the first years of driving, arguing that distraction, alcohol and drugs are key contributing factors to new driver collisions.

Young Drivers V2

"We strongly support many of the key components of a successful GDL scheme, in particular the 12 month minimum learning period which will ensure a much wider range of driving experience, but we still need to be convinced that night-time curfews will work and support a pilot scheme first", says Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research.

The UK already has a graduated licensing scheme for motorcyclists, with young riders restricted to less powerful bikes. Similar schemes also already operate in areas of New Zealand, Australia, the USA (New York and California), Sweden and Canada (Ontario and British Columbia).

Learner drivers are now allowed to travel on motorways with an approved driving instructor to acclimatise new drivers to these roads. Currently, new drivers have their licences revoked if they accumulate six points within the first two years — equivalent to points for using a handheld mobile phone while driving or two speeding offences.


C Pepper    on 22 July 2019

I thoroughly agree with the new driver licence proposals.
Look at what it has done for accidents in Australia.
I also like the restrictions placed upon L drivers in Australia too.

Olga Lockley    on 22 July 2019

If they are not allowed to drive in the dark they will never get used to it. Perhaps if accompanied by a "suitable" adult?

VINCENT MILLARD    on 22 July 2019

If they are not allowed to drive in the dark they will never get used to it. Perhaps if accompanied by a "suitable" adult?

They should have to take Night Driving Lessons with a Qualified Instructor with Duel controls.

Keith Moat    on 22 July 2019

No point lowering the drink drive limit, unless they make it zero, the ones who drink and drive are going to do it anyway regardless of the limit. If you're going to drive, don't drink alcohol at all, full stop.

As far as driving in the dark is concerned, if that's when most accidents happen, make it part of the driving lessons and a separate part of the test.

Edited by Keith Moat on 22/07/2019 at 14:42

Roy Fuller    on 22 July 2019

I completely agree with Keith. When I worked in Bulgaria in the 1980s they had zero tolerance to drink driving, and designated drivers got free soft drinks in hotels. All we nend then is sufficient police to enforce it.

MMB69    on 22 July 2019

Interesting but just how enforceable would such a rule be? Is a traffic officer supposed to randomly stop every car at night to check?

The suggestion seems to completely miss the fact that new drivers can be any age... they're not just teenagers... and we haven't even started on resource to carry out checks, the variation in daylight hours between the North of Scotland and Cornwall, etc.

Seems like a poorly conceived soundbite.

VINCENT MILLARD    on 22 July 2019

Your Reg is checked my Gantry Cameras and Mobile Police these days, so they Know who is the Registered Keeper by use of Computer Algorithms as well as Eyes.

So yes this can be enforced.

A J Mobbs    on 22 July 2019

A night-time driving ban will be counter-productive as a newly-qualified driver will never gain the experience. Passing the driving test merely authorises the driver to continue gaining experience on his own without the need for an instructor present in the car.

If all newly-qualified drivers are compelled to exhibit "P" plates for their first two years, other motorists will have the opportunity to give them extra consideration.

Restricting the power output of vehicles available to new drivers for a certain time seems logical.

Vivien Barber    on 23 July 2019

A night-time driving ban will be counter-productive as a newly-qualified driver will never gain the experience. Passing the driving test merely authorises the driver to continue gaining experience on his own without the need for an instructor present in the car. If all newly-qualified drivers are compelled to exhibit "P" plates for their first two years, other motorists will have the opportunity to give them extra consideration. Restricting the power output of vehicles available to new drivers for a certain time seems logical.

P plates, now seen less often I think, should be mandatory. And how is it that a new driver can get into a powerful car immediately on passing her/his test? We don't allow that with motorcycles. I do see that small cars are now often quite powerful, but you have to start somehow. Over 1000cc, perhaps?

Robert Lockey    on 22 July 2019

I am an ex driving instructor. This move will make no difference. The young driver has passed a driving test of competence and that should be it with no conditions imposed. If driving conditions are to be imposed it should be for all drivers. In my experience the worst drivers are in the 50 to 70 age bracket they think they know it all and have never had further training with their driving.

Robert McAuley    on 23 July 2019

Some of the driving instructors I've observed are very far from perfect so that's no recommendation.

trevtherev    on 22 July 2019

My Son at age 18 passed his driving test (first time) in January and needs his car to get to and from his place of work, which can be either very early morning (before 6am) or late at night (after 11pm).
He is a very good driver for his age and experience and as part of his insurance has the usual black box fitted to his car, so any bad driving would alert his insurance company.
In his case I feel that is enough of a check and any curfew would be ridiculous. His black box already marks him down whenever he has to drive at night, but I would trust him a lot more than say an elderly person with bad eyesight and slow reactions, especially at night!
I know what the statistics suggest, but there are plenty of bad drivers out there, of many ages and whatever gender, and they are not always driving at night!

Mark Cadman    on 22 July 2019

It seems to me that the government and insurance companies are always looking to put restrictions in place. Maybe a better approach would be to take an incentivising approach which would need the government to work with the insurance companies.

We all know that insurance for new drivers is stupidly high, so why not put in place a scheme that the insurance charges their standard pricing, but, on the provision that the driver goes a full year with no accidents, tickets or speed awareness courses, etc, then they receive 50% of their premiums back at the end of the year.

If there are no accidents then the insurance company does not lose any money for that driver, and they would still have made some money based on the fact they are gaining interest on 50% of the money for 1 year anyway.

DCmusic    on 22 July 2019

How about putting more traffic police back on the road to cover ALL drivers. Except that costs more money.... That would make the roads safer for all. Restrictions will only lead to more costs. My eldest, when he starts driving, will face ridiculous insurance costs. I am more concerned about an overall approach to road policing than having a go at young drivers again.

   on 22 July 2019

My 18 year old grandson works evening shifts. If he cannot drive to or from work in the dark he will have to give up his job as there is no alternative means of going to and from his work place. His car insurance company has fitted telematics to his car. That is sufficient control.

peteryoung    on 22 July 2019

young drivers need to experience driving on roads at night, i believe they should at least have 5 lessons with a qualified driving instructor of driving at night . this should also be noted when taking there test. i also believe the police should be allowed to do spot checks on roads to test drivers for drug use. i live in a seaside town and in the last 6 months to a year the amount of cars, myself and my wife see were the occopants are smoking somekind of drugs. the smell takes your breath away.

linedancer111    on 22 July 2019

We have relations in New Zealand, who work in A&E and one who is a paramedic,

Because, of there driving rules, they don’t have the RTA rate that we have .

So I agree, something like the NZ system would be fine !

Husbandofstinky    on 23 July 2019

Sorry but a pointless comparison with New Zealand.

Despite a similar land mass when compared to the UK, there are only 4 million cars on the road compared with 30 million in the UK

Less than 5 million live in NZ compared with nearly 67 million in the UK.

In 2017 there were 317 deaths on NZ roads, in the UK it was 1710. Based on cars on the road alone, pro rating that up to UK levels comes at just under 2400.

A night time ban is totally impractical and there's the shift work and winter scenarios too. Restriction under xBHP is a start and not cc's (Ford eco boost 1.0 ST Fiesta - 140PS!). Back in my day XR3i's used to 'only' generate 105bhp. Still even the most gutless of cars nowadays can hit 100 mph (Citreon C1 - 98mph)

It has got to be be training if night time driving is a real issues i.e. so many hours with a qualified instructor plus maybe even a simulator before hand.

A typical knee jerk reaction by bureaucrats to stats.

young gadge    on 22 July 2019

Lower the engine size for the first 2 years to 1.0 litre ! The problem ( part of it ) is that youngsters can drive the most powerful of cars straight away ! Change the law to less powerful engines as they do with motorbikes , taper engine size they can drive on how many years experience a driver has, and if they have an accident/s make them resit the test ! It's scary that a newly qualified driver can drive cars capable of speeds up to 150 MPH + !!!! They are lethal weapons in the wrong hands :( Quite frankly I believe all cars should be limited to 80 MPH . And also all cars should be fitted with a breathalyzer !

Edited by young gadge on 22/07/2019 at 18:05

CHASBEE52    on 22 July 2019

I think this is totally wrong learner drivers should be taught to drive at night for at least 5 hours as part of their instruction. If we allow this to happen how is it going to be policed unless all cars have trackers. What's the difference between driving at night and driving in the rain.The reason more young drivers or any driver is involved in accidents at night is because that's when they are driving home from college or work the same as all the drunk, drugged, and banned drivers and people texting or using the phone I really think this is a stupid and not properly considered idea. Better training is the answer not silly legislation. What happens when as part of there job a young person has to drive to his or her place of work and then can't drive home at 5.00 because its dark.. Maybe a curfew at say 8.00pm for the winter might help but I am not convinced.

Edited by CHASBEE52 on 22/07/2019 at 18:22

peerlessgt    on 22 July 2019

i guess you live in australia.... if not, whats it to do with you?

peerlessgt    on 22 July 2019

as usual, government officials and unqualified charities dictating how real people should live, if this is brought on by a rise in drink driving, then how is restricting night driving related? explain please? the answer is zero tolerance to drink driving.. positive on the breathalyser, confiscate the car,and crush it. done. are these people who advocate more restrictions implying that instructors are not doing a proper job? cut down on the availability of alcohol, like Canada, designated outlets only, carry booze only in the trunk, and make some effort to instil a little maturity into a 'binge drrinking' phone mad culture.
Its about time we got over the 'novelty' of cars, and treated them like the potential weapons they are.

Howard Buchanan    on 22 July 2019

Yet another knee-jerk reaction to fluctuating statistical blips, and we know how politicians love those. Anyone would think there was rising carnage on our roads. The very long-term statistics show that this is not the case. Today, with well in excess of 20 million cars on the road, fatality figures are a fraction of what they were in 1931 when there were only 1.1 million cars. Given the vastly more complex nature of traffic in the 21st. century, that's an almost unimaginably large improvement in road safety: the wonder is that there are not tens of thousands killed on the roads each year. However, since even one road death is one too many, a further reduction, or at least stabilisation of the numbers, is probably better secured by mandatory probationary status of at least 3 years for all new drivers than by a ban on night driving. It goes almost without saying that such a measure, with all new drivers compelled to show "P" plates, should have been taken decades ago, but better late than never.

corinthian    on 22 July 2019

With a zero tolerance policy , every pub and restaurant in the country ( where you couldn't even have a glass of wine with a meal ) would be closed in three months !

   on 22 July 2019

Having had two 18 years who have just recently passed their driving tests and all their friends the same I have first hand experience of what young drivers are currently like. I also have another of 16 who has just done a moped CBT. A few hours of training and he’s deemed safe to go on the road.
Maybe our stupid politicians or whoever decide the rules listen to those who have first hand experience. I could come up with lots of suggestions but certainly for me the P plate for 1 year after passing and also a maximum engine size or BHP on a vehicle. I’d also think about letting them learn at 16 but not being able to take a test until they turn 18.
As for drink drive limit , make it zero , it’s the only safe way.

GSh    on 22 July 2019

Would possibly work for most newly qualified drivers in the summer months, but difficult in winter when it gets light later in the morning and dark early in the evening

Murray Snudge    on 23 July 2019

This is a brilliant idea and it may have prevented the Stevenage 'Car Cruise' crash. I would go a bit further and like to see a minimum age of 25 before males are allowed to drive at all. Hopefully by that time they would have learned how to be responsible.

aethelwulf    on 23 July 2019

Many comments are related to the fundamental problem. No enough policing of roads so therefore little chance of being caught driving badly , or eve drunk. But as some have said this costs money so it is easier to make life difficult for the young and tick another box as job done. But what if accidents continue at teh same rate or more? Stop all night driving? Put some lights back onto roads would be a better idea.
The number of accidents is linked to the number of cars out there and linked to the population. The UK is a finite size so at some point we will have a few inches of road space each. Hard not to collide then won't it?

Michael Carrigan    on 23 July 2019

Never heard anything as badly thought through. Who decides what nightime is? Does it mean hours of darkness? Does it change daily/weekly/monthly? This could be very restrictive in Winter.
Most learner drivers will have already been taking lessons when it has been dark.
Many of the newer drivers will have chosen a blackbox associated with their insurance. This already encourages better driving and less driving in the dark. However, being able to recognise driving in the dark could be for work/study or other reasons.

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