Roger Williams, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, has won Brake and Direct Line’s Parliamentarian of the Month Award for his campaign to introduce Graduated Driver Licensing.
Mr Williams has long been concerned by the number of young people who are killed or seriously injured in road crashes. As an MP, and in his personal life, he has witnessed the devastating effects that road crashes have on families and the wider community.
Early in 2010, he was approached by Dr Sarah Jones of Cardiff University who provided a compelling case for the introduction of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) to tackle disproportionately high number of crashes that involve young drivers. To read more about GDL, click here. To read about Dr Jones’ research, click here.
On 8 June 2010, Mr Williams forwarded an Early Day Motion on GDL, calling on the Government to introduce a pilot scheme in the UK to assess the impact it would have on road safety. He drew attention to the fact that it had been successful in reducing casualties in other countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
He followed up his call with a meeting with the Road Safety Minister, Mike Penning, on 3 August to further discuss the possibility of Government action to pilot GDL. He was joined at the meeting by Dr Jones.
They discussed GDL as a way of helping new young drivers to improve their skills and increase their driving experience, whilst reducing exposure to the most dangerous driving situations, such as driving at night or with similar aged passengers.
The Minister was keen to see if a graduated system could be introduced via the insurance companies, by them offering substantially reduced premiums to people who volunteer to become intermediate drivers after passing their driving test. He will now raise the issue with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and some of the larger insurance companies.
Mr Williams was pleased with the outcome of the meeting and has vowed to keep the pressure up to ensure that GDL is trialled in the UK.
Roger Williams MP said: ““I am delighted to be given this award by Brake. There are far too many young people who are seriously or fatally injured in road crashes and I am pleased that GDL is being considered as a way to reduce this as it is essential that young drivers have the necessary skills and experience to be safe on Britain’s roads.
“I would also like to commend Brake for the excellent work that they do on this issue.”
Julie Townsend, Brake’s Campaigns Director, said: “We are really pleased that the Coalition Government intends to address the appalling number of deaths and injuries on our roads that involve young drivers. We urge the Government to act quickly to set up a trial in partnership with the insurance industry. Evidence from other countries shows that GDL is effective in cutting the number of young lives that are lost on roads. There is not a moment to waste.”