Northern Ireland progress on driving law amendments

Amendment Bill passes final stage in Northern Ireland with changes in drink driving limit and restrictions on younger drivers.

The new Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill in Northern Ireland has passed its final stage at the Assembly which will result in tougher drink driving laws, improved police powers for breath tests, night restrictions on young drivers carrying passengers and a mandatory minimum period for learning to drive before taking the test.

With 74 people having lost their lives on the roads in Northern Ireland during 2015, Brake sees this new legislation as being a vital tool for Northern Ireland as it strives for the goal of zero deaths on its roads.

Young drivers are three times more likely to be killed on the roads in Northern Ireland and four times more likely to be responsible for fatal crashes than drivers over 25 and so Brake strongly supports the Assembly’s aim to reduce the number of young fatalities on its roads by 55% and are urging the rest of the UK to reintroduce casualty reduction targets.

Commenting on the reduced tolerance to alcohol, Brake’s Gary Rae said: “The reduction of the drink drive alcohol limit to 0.05% BAC for all drivers and 0.02% BAC for those newly qualified will help save more lives.  We would prefer the lower limit to be enforced for all drivers, but this is a step in the right direction.”

On the young driver restrictions, Gary Rae continued, “We strongly support the introduction of what looks like the beginnings of a Graduated Driver Licence scheme, with a minimum learning period and restrictions on passenger numbers for new drivers. Northern Ireland is once again leading the way in the UK when it comes to road safety legislation and we would urge other governments to look closely at this Bill and follow suit to keep all road users safer.”

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