NI Assembly Proposal to drop R-Plate 45mph Speed Limit

27 Replies

The Northern Ireland Assembly has drafted a Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill making some significant and long overdue changes to how young people can drive on the road for their first time.

Significantly, doing away with the 45mph learner and restricted R-plate driver speed limit for the first year, being able to learn on motorways (in a dual control car), and being able to apply for a provisional at age 16 and a half.  This brings some common sense to our approach to driver training, just a shame the much maligned R-plate wasn’t binned altogether.

The full list of proposals are below.

Applying for a provisional licence

  • you will be able to get a provisional licence at age 16 and a half
  • you will need to have a provisional licence for at least a year before you can sit your first practical test
  • you will not be able to get a full licence before you are 17 and a half

Driving lessons

  • you may take lessons on motorways when you are accompanied by an Approved Driving Instructor in a dual-controlled car
  • you will no longer be required to drive at or below 45 mph as a learner or ‘restricted’ driver
  • your driving test will include driving on a wider range of roads at up to the posted speed limits
  • you must complete the new ‘Learning to Drive’ course and produce the student logbook, signed by your Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), before you sit your first practical test

‘New’ drivers and riders

  • R plates will be replaced by N (for ‘New’ driver/rider) plates which you must display for two years
  • as a new driver (under 24 years old) you will not be allowed to carry passengers aged 14 to 20 (except immediate family members) during the first six months after you have passed your driving test and got your full licence
  • this restriction will not apply if there is a supervising driver (aged 21 years or older and who has held a full driving licence for three years) in the front passenger seat
  • there will be exemptions for appropriately trained emergency services drivers
  • you will have to take a remedial course if, as a new driver, you are at risk of having your licence revoked because you have accumulated six or more penalty points

For further information see NI Direct

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About Author

Andy is the founding member of RMS, and when he's not following motoring events around the UK and Ireland he can be found on the track (sideways, having competed in top level drifting for a decade), or of course he'll be on the forum.

RMS Forum Comments

stevieturbo 10:12 | Wed 13 Jan, 2016 | Report
Why does it still say proposed changes ? Last comment is a bit random you will have to take a remedial course if, as a new driver, you are at risk of having your licence revoked because you have accumulated six or more penalty points R to N plates seem a bit stupid, as does 2 years. Unless someone in government bought the rights to "N" plates and is looking a few quid selling them
NI_Volvo_Nut 10:14 | Wed 13 Jan, 2016 | Report
Only link I could find about it, looking for a news link
jimcupra 11:06 | Wed 13 Jan, 2016 | Report
Driving on motorways is a great idea as a learner. First time I drove on a motorway I had passed my test 2 days. I near shat myself, 45mph with everything overtaking me. I was an accident waiting to happen. After that I just took the r plates down before going on a motorway.
Rocko 11:55 | Wed 13 Jan, 2016 | Report
Me too. Ridiculous you can't be on one as a learner.
big_pete 11:57 | Wed 13 Jan, 2016 | Report
Lol at your quote name @stevieturbo
Andy55 12:01 | Wed 13 Jan, 2016 | Report
Bit more on it here The Northern Ireland Assembly
Phil_EK9 12:02 | Wed 13 Jan, 2016 | Report
Overall it isn't a bad idea. I still don't agree with barring under 21's from being passengers, a tool is going to be a tool eventually, whether people are egging them on or not.
Ben 6 12:26 | Wed 13 Jan, 2016 | Report
you will be able to get a provisional licence at age 16 and a half you will need to have a provisional licence for at least a year before you can sit your first practical test you will not be able to get a full licence before you are 17 and a half Does this mean you won't be allowed a provisional for a moped/tractor until you're 16.5? What is the meaning behind not allowing people to be tested before 17.5? Being a safe/good driver is about skill and perception, age shouldn't be such a major factor. For example; Scenario 1: Someone who gets their provisional at 16. Lives in the city and doesn't need a car until they leave school at 18. Does a couple of lessons, flukes the test and is now on the road with very little experience. Scenario 2: Person applies for provisional at 16.5, aces their theory at 17 and does weekly lessons for 3 months. Does multiple mock practical tests and consistently aces them. Needs a car for a new job they have landed but isn't allowed to take the full test for another 3 months. Stupid system. Not trying to brag at all but at 17 and 1 week old I was a better driver than nearly all of the other people in my school year at the time. There were people who had been driving for over a year and after one trip in the car with them I would never get in the car with them again (and I can be a hallion myself). Just make it so the test accurately represents real life driving and situations, rather than try to make it less accessible.
Cooper 12:44 | Wed 13 Jan, 2016 | Report
These are fairly fundamental changes and about time too. A shame they didn't dump the R-plate completely. I've created this in an article - many thanks to @JCLC Assembly Proposal to drop R-Plate 45mph Speed Limit - RMS
David.S 12:53 | Wed 13 Jan, 2016 | Report
I think it would be better if they changed the min driving age to 40 :p


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