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New measures proposed to improve road safety

Thursday, 22 October 2015

The Department of Infrastructure is proposing to introduce new measures to improve road safety in the Isle of Man.

The proposals are aimed at reducing the number of fatal or serious collisions on Manx roads by promoting a safer environment while new drivers build up their experience and competence. They include:

  • extending the period of R-plate restrictions from one to two years
  • limiting R-plate drivers to carrying only one passenger
  • introducing a curfew for R-Plate drivers between 12 midnight and 5am
  • banning R-plate drivers if they accumulate six penalty points

The Department will continue to investigate ways to develop and assess the ability of drivers once they have passed their test. Consideration will also be given to reducing the R-plate period of drivers who undertake and pass additional training.

The proposed new legislation takes into account feedback to a public consultation and online survey conducted towards the end of 2014. More than 1,200 people submitted responses on a range of issues including enhanced driver training, engine and vehicle restrictions and improved enforcement.

The majority of respondents (79%) supported the need for change. The document summarising the consultation responses is available on the Government website.

The Department sought the views of the public, the emergency services and motoring trade in response to statistics which show that a disproportionate number of inexperienced motorists are killed or seriously injured on roads throughout the British Isles.

The Isle of Man has witnessed a number of tragedies involving novice drivers and their passengers over the past 18 months and Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK launched the consultation to stimulate discussion about how best to reduce the risks.

He said:

‘The safety of people on our roads is a priority and the high level of engagement in the consultation shows just how important this subject is to the Manx public. New drivers are among our most vulnerable road users and the Department’s proposals are intended to develop their experience behind the wheel in the safest way possible.’

The Minister added:

‘New drivers are often those in the 16 to 24 age bracket, so we want to strike the right balance between making things safer without unduly restricting young people’s social freedoms and economic opportunities.’

The proposed extension of the R-plate period and the introduction of a curfew for new drivers can be implemented by the Department by amending the Driving Licence and Test Regulations 2007. Measures to limit R-plate drivers to carrying one passenger and ban those who accumulate six penalty points involve changes to primary legislation and would require Tynwald approval.

John Houghton MHK, Member of the Department with responsibility for Highway Services, chaired a working group comprising representatives from the Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Service and the public. The group looked at how other countries around the world are trying to reduce the frequency of tragic incidents involving new drivers.

Mr Houghton said:

‘Driving provides independence and mobility, but it also comes with great responsibility. Figures show that new drivers are more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal accident, so we are proposing new measures that address the risks in a balanced and proportionate way.’

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