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Roads: Accidents

Volume 459: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps the Government are taking to tackle the number of young drivers killed and injured on Northern Ireland's roads. (134407)

The Northern Ireland Road Safety Strategy 2002-12 reinforces Government's commitment to road safety and includes a range of measures aimed at young drivers.

The Department of the Environment is currently researching the training, testing and licensing of new and young drivers and the future direction for Northern Ireland's “L” and “R” driver schemes. Any proposed changes will be the subject of consultation.

DOE actively promotes Road Traffic Studies and GCSE Motor Vehicle and Road User Studies in post-primary schools, providing support, training and materials to schools. The Police Service of Northern Ireland has developed an NVQ, “Preparation for Driving”, which will be made available by September 2007. These courses focus on the attitudes of young adults, many of whom will soon become drivers. The PSNI ran 19 “Roadsafe Roadshows” during the current school year, attended by almost 11,000 young people, depicting how a night out could end in tragedy. DOE also offers, through schools, a driver training scheme to 17 and 18-year-olds with valid provisional licences.

DOE has a portfolio of hard-hitting road safety campaigns targeting the main causes of road deaths and serious injuries. These particularly focus on the 17-24 age group as it is most at risk and most likely to be responsible for serious road collisions.

The PSNI has introduced a Driver Improvement Scheme to improve driving standards and attitudes for first time careless driving offenders as an alternative to prosecution.

Over the past year the PSNI has worked with young motorists through its involvement with a local “cruising club”. Approximately 1,000 young people attended a recent event in Ballymena.

The PSNI mounts intelligence-led road safety operations, particularly in relation to young drivers, throughout the year. In 2006, 3,723 fixed penalty notices for speeding were issued to 17 to 24-year-olds.