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
- 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