In a bid to cut deaths on the road, the government are reported to be considering a major reform to the laws around getting your first drivers license. At present, in the UK, you can apply for a provisional license at the age of 17, and when you pass your theory and practical tests you get a full drivers license. Passing these tests is the only requirement – you do not have to have completed a specific number of driving hours. When you have your full license, even if you are still 17, you can drive at any time of day or night and can carry passengers. The only things you are limited by are the insurance you can afford, and the fact you can’t hire a car until you are 21.
What Changes Are Being Considered to the UK Drivers License?
Under the new proposals, you would still be able to get a provisional license at 17, which only allows you to drive under supervision, but you would have to stay on this license for 12 months. During that time you would have to have completed a minimum of 100 supervised and recorded daylight hours of driving, and 20 of night time driving. After this, when you were at the earliest 18, you could apply for a probationary license. This would require you to display a ‘P’ sign on your car. You would not be able to carry passengers under the age of 30, unless you were over the age of 30 yourself.
In addition to this, people on their 12 month probationary period would be subject to a curfew. This would mean that for the first year after passing your test you would not be allowed on the roads between 10pm and 5am.
After 12 month on the probationary license, it would automatically be upgraded to a full license. This means that a person who applied for their provisional license as soon as they were 17 would not be able to drive whenever they want to or carry passengers their own age until they were 19. Even people who don’t learn to drive until they are much older would not have the convenience of a full license for two years from when they started learning to drive.
What Would Proposed Changes This Mean?
What this effectively means is that learning to drive could become a much more difficult process and that restrictions would make life very difficult for people like students, who may not be able to share a car with friends due to restrictions on passengers, or drive anywhere at night. While this may have some impact on road safety statistics, it would move UK law further away from other countries, such as the US and parts of Europe, where people can get a drivers license as young as 15.
What this essentially means is that if you want to learn to drive, especially if you are young, you should do it as soon as you can rather than putting it off – it could be that the law will change and make the process more expensive and much, much less convenient for you.