13/05/2014

Younger Drivers Targeted In Drink Drive Laws

Younger drivers are being targeted in new drink drive laws introduced today in Northern Ireland.

In the first major shake up since 1968, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has introduced legislation into the Assembly for lower drink drive limits in Northern Ireland. The new law will mean lower alcohol limits, including a de facto zero limit for newly qualified drivers and professional drivers.

The legislation includes a mandatory minimum learning period of twelve months while holding a provisional licence, offset by the fact that people will be able to apply for a provisional licence at sixteen-and-a-half, rather than seventeen.

The post-test period will be for two years, not one, and the de facto zero alcohol limit will apply during that period. New drivers up to the age of 24 will not be allowed to carry more than one teenage passenger, unless immediate family, during their first six months post test.

Mark H Durkan said: "This new legislation will tackle drivers who shamelessly continue to drink and drive. It will provide powers to radically overhaul how we train, test and protect our vulnerable new drivers. It will also reduce the risk to riders of quads on public roads by requiring them to wear helmets.

"Statistics show that between 2008 and 2012, young drivers aged between 17 and 24 were responsible for 42% of fatal collisions for which car drivers were responsible. Yet they comprise only 10% of current car licence holders. There is a clear and compelling need to address this and to better prepare our young people for the road ahead."

(IT/JP)

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