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New road bill to cut drink drive limit and restrict young drivers

A Bill which would see the drink drive limit lowered has been hailed as an important milestone in saving lives on our roads.

Members gave their backing to the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill being taken forward by Environment Minister Mark H Durkan in the Assembly.

Key components of the Bill will see lower drink drive limits, a more structured approach to learning to drive and a requirement for quad users to wear helmets when riding on the roads.

Significantly, the Bill also includes restrictions on new young drivers carrying passengers immediately after they pass their test.

The Assembly gave its backing to new drivers up to the age of 24 not being allowed to carry more than one young passenger (aged 14 to 20, except immediate family members) during the six months after they pass their test, between the hours of 10pm and 6am.

Mark H Durkan said: “This is an important milestone towards reducing deaths on our roads. I welcome Assembly backing for the lower drink drive limits, for a new graduated driver licensing scheme, and a new requirement for quad drivers to wear a helmet when riding on roads.

“There is also compelling evidence of the heightened risk of collisions when new young drivers carry teenage passengers. Young drivers carrying two young passengers are twice as likely to be killed as driving alone, and four times more likely to die if carrying three young passengers.

“The Assembly has given its backing for young people not carrying passengers during night-time hours, for the first six months after they pass their test. I would like to see this being for the full twenty four hours and feel there is still work to be done to the legislation regarding that.”

The Minister continued: “Last night’s debate clearly demonstrated that the Assembly is united in pursuing the common goal of reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads. I welcome the discussion on the detail of the restrictions on new drivers and I will review these provisions in advance of Further Consideration Stage of the Bill.”

The Bill will now go to further consideration stage.

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