EU Driving Changes Perfect Time to Move Towards Graduated Licences

>> 29 December 2012

As EU changes to driving licences are set to be introduced, the SNP has said this is the perfect time to make plans to introduce a Graduated Driving Licence for newly-qualified drivers.

January will see a single European Driving Licence introduced as well as a new EU directive that will make it unlawful for men to be charged more than their female peers.

And with figures showing 17 to 25-year-olds are most likely to be in a fatal collision during the festive break, SNP MSP Mark McDonald reiterated calls for Westminster to move towards introducing a Graduated Driving Licence as such calls have to date gone unheeded.

Mr McDonald said:

"January will see various changes made to driving licences, which is why it is the perfect time for Westminster to move towards putting restrictions on the conditions in which newly qualified drivers can drive for a fixed period, instead dismissing it out of hand as it has previously done.

"Sadly, the party season is a busy time on Scotland's roads and raises the numbers of people getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol. Not only that, but the road conditions can be extremely dangerous - particularly for new drivers who are not used to driving in such conditions.

"Moving to graduated licences - such as making limitations on driving between 11pm and 4am, a zero blood-alcohol limit and restrictions on passenger numbers - could cut road deaths and may even boost insurance prospects for young drivers.

"Although we know deaths on Scotland’s roads are down by 11 per cent, it is still the case that young drivers – who are the group most likely to have newly qualified – remains substantially more likely to be involved in a road accident.

"If there is anything we can do to reduce their chances of being in an accident, we must do it. The campaign to do more to help young drivers is gaining momentum and it's time for Westminster to stop grinding its heels and get on board.

“Losing even one life on Scotland’s roads is one too many and if Westminster will not act to reduce the risks to newly qualified drivers, then it must give the Scottish Government the power to do so."


1) In January 2013 the DVLA will introduce a number of changes to vehicle licence categories as part of an EU 3rd Directive on driving licences. Directive 2006/126/EEC is aimed at creating a single European Driving Licence. While the new licence will not be completely uniform across all European countries; the style is the same; categories are largely consistent; it is renewable every 10 to 15 years and will be much more difficult to falsify. The exact differences across countries are still numerous so understanding how to assess licence validity is potentially complex. Also, any licence issued before 19th January 2013 will become invalid in 2033. Licences issued after January 2013 will be in the new format and existing licences will gradually be replaced.

2) The EU Gender Directive is known as Council Directive 2004/113/EC. It relates to a requirement across the EU for equal treatment between men and women. In particular it prohibits considering gender when calculating the cost of insurance.

3) Details of Brake's Graduated Licensing campaign can be found here

4) Details of 17 to 25-year-olds are most likely to be in a fatal collision during the festive break

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