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Supporting New Drivers in Great Britain

17 January 2023

This report, prepared by TRL for the RAC Foundation and the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund, finds that graduated driver licensing can improve road safety while having minimal impact on new drivers’ access to education, employment and social activities.

It is now available on The Road Safety Knowledge Centre.

GDL imposes some limited restrictions on new drivers, most of whom are young, to allow them to safely gain experience in the critical few months after they pass their test. The limitations target known risk situations such as driving in the dark and carrying peer-age passengers.

International evidence shows that GDL, in one form or another, can reduce collisions and trauma from collisions involving young drivers, by 20-40%. 

Despite this, some policy makers – including members of parliament sitting on the Transport Select Committee – continue to have concerns about GDL.

These include:

  • Whether it reduces access to employment and education
  • Its impact on young people in rural areas
  • The difficulty of enforcement
  • Whether there are better alternatives, such as telematics insurance which uses black box technology to monitor driving style and behaviour

However, the report suggests that these concerns – and a number of others – are broadly unfounded. 

Having conducted a literature review, interviews with young people in Great Britain and interviews with international experts, the authors (Dr Shaun Helman, Dr Neale Kinnear, Jack Hitchings and Dr Sarah Jones) of the study conclude that: “…serious adverse impacts are not seen or expected in any of the areas considered.