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Ross to face licence critics head-on

By Lorna Thompson

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A MORAY MP will face critics head-on in a live social media discussion next week on the issue of a Graduated Driving Licence in Scotland – after his backing for the measures triggered a stir this month.

Conservative Douglas Ross will hold a Facebook live discussion on Tuesday, July 23 at 6.30pm, along with two senior road safety academics.

Earlier this month Mr Ross backed a plan to place restrictions on drivers who have recently passed their test in a bid to cut traffic accidents in Scotland.

The suggestions include a zero drink limit; no carrying of passengers under 25 unless accompanied by an adult over 25; no driving after 10pm or before 6am except for work; drivers displaying L-plates during the learning and probationary period, and P-plates for 12 months after passing the driving test; and, finally, if a driver accrues more than six points on their driving licence in the 12-month period after passing their test, they would have to re-sit it.

Mr Ross said: "When I first raised the issue of a Graduated Driving Licence it’s fair to say it prompted a lot of feedback – largely negative and certainly posing many questions.

"Instead of shying away from this criticism I want to address it and see if those who oppose the plans are correct – or if in fact such a scheme could help to save lives and reduce road collisions.

Douglas Ross MP will hold a live Facebook discussion on the Graduated Driving Licence proposals next week.
Douglas Ross MP will hold a live Facebook discussion on the Graduated Driving Licence proposals next week.

"I’m hosting this Facebook live discussion at 6.30pm on Tuesday, July 23, with Dr Sarah Jones, formerly of Cardiff University and now with NHS Wales, and Dr Shaun Helman, chief scientist at the Transport Research Laboratory.

"It is a fact that too many lives are being lost on our roads and one life lost is one too many.

"We have to work together to make our roads safer for all road users. Statistics tell us that the highest number of fatalities and serious injury collisions are caused by predominately young male drivers.

"In Scotland 12.5% of all road collisions involve a driver aged between 17-19. If a Graduated Driving Licence was to be introduced, in Scotland alone up to 299 casualties could be prevented and there would be 45 less killed or seriously injured.

"Alarmingly, in the Highlands and Grampian areas 15.7% of all collisions involve a driver aged between 17-19. In these areas alone we could reduce the casualties by 64 and prevent those killed or seriously injured by 13 if a form of graduated licence was introduced.

"Since I announced this proposal there has been a lot of discussion generated on a scheme which has proved successful in the US, New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong.

"Each of those countries have chosen variations of the scheme so there is a ‘drop down’ menu of options we could adopt.

"I think, at the very least, this deserves further discussion, and I hope many people who have contacted me about the proposals can join our discussion and learn more about what the scheme involves and how it could make our roads safer and save lives."

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