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Public Health Wales voices support for Graduated Driver Licensing

24 Jan 2024 3 minute read
A young driver taking a test

The introduction of a phased approach to driving which gradually builds experience and competence would save lives in the UK, according to a consultation response by Public Health Wales.

In its response to Welsh Government’s 12-week consultation Road Safety in Wales, PHW recommended Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) and other changes such as increasing crossing times and replacing “paint only” cycle lanes with separate lanes.

Public Health Wales called for a road safety strategy that focuses on public health, addresses inequalities in the harms that result from the road traffic environment, and prioritises walking, cycling and public transport.

A GDL system is designed to help new drivers of motor vehicles gain experience and skills gradually over time in low-risk environments.

Young people

A wide range of measures could be considered within a GDL, but options may include a period when newly qualified drivers under the age of 25 are not permitted to give lifts to other young people and are not permitted to drive late at night.

Public Health Wales’ position statement for a GDL also recommends a night time driving restriction and a drink drive limit of 20mg per 100ml of blood.

The NHS trust also recommended pedestrian crossing wait times should be cut while time allowed to cross should be extended.

Other specific policy proposals included ensuring that cycling infrastructure should be clearly separated from other motor vehicles and that “paint only” is not acceptable.

Public Health Wales also outlined its belief that a social marketing campaign should be undertaken to improve understanding of who pays for the roads (everyone through taxation, not just drivers) and who has priority in the road space (the most vulnerable road users, not drivers).

Options

Dr Sarah Jones, Consultant in Environmental Public Health at Public Health Wales, said: “Historically, our road network has been built with the prioritisation of private motor vehicle users in mind, but it is becoming increasingly clear that this is not an approach that is fit for the future.

“A modal shift is required to encourage more people to use transport options such as walking, cycling, or public transport, as an alternative to the car. Only then can Wales hope to develop a road system that supports decarbonisation efforts that will reduce air pollution and address the climate emergency, as well as inequalities in access.

“A road safety strategy is a public health strategy, and all elements of the new strategy should be explicitly considered in terms of how they may be expected to protect, improve or harm health. To this end, Public Health Wales recommends public health specialists are involved in the development of the road safety strategy from the outset.”


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Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Interesting. The existing method, even if you do not use a professional instructor, is to pass a particular set of tasks only once, then you are cut loose for the rest of your driving life. Many never progress and many regress. Make them better drivers early on seems a good move.

But get the buses sorted and cycle lanes and very important, good safe cycle storage, that will help. At the moment I can get places on my bike but no way can I leave it safe. We build cycle lanes but no safe storage, this is bonkers.

PeterC
PeterC
1 month ago

Yet another hair brained idea to curb the use of private cars. Fine in our city’s, but most of Wales is rural with little or no public transport. How on earth would a newly qualified (probably young) driver get to/from work if they were on shift work for example. We don’t have cycle lanes on rural roads or has the so called experts not noticed.

Karl
Karl
1 month ago
Reply to  PeterC

How can they afford insurance, the car is a drain on finances and health

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  PeterC

Or pavements…what we have are roads adapted from 18th century coaching roads to cater for Morris Minors. The last thing to do is to encourage people to walk on them and for long stretches it is beyond dangerous to cycle on them. To expect Cardiff Bay to recognize and accept this is probably futile…

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago
Reply to  PeterC

Cycles can access every road as per Highway Code. It wont harm to better educate drivers and make the world a safer place. Cycle lanes are great where they can be implemented but we will still have to run the gauntlet of poor driving at some point on a road.

Last edited 1 month ago by Jeff
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Better instruction from ex-highway cops for safe driving and be made to sit through Australian road accident videos as shown in Holywell DVLA centre. I came out in the drivers test top 20%…

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