New plan to make drink drivers re-sit test after ban
Drink drivers will need to re-sit their test, and novices could be banned from carrying more than one passenger, in an effort to reduce the death toll on our roads.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) says the Government should introduce tough new restrictions to help combat driver distraction amid growing concern about young drivers' behaviour.
Chief executive Moyagh Murdock revealed the RSA is reviewing the driver theory test to include a targeted focus on alcohol.
A hard-hitting public awareness campaign is also planned, and work is underway to change the law and oblige drink drivers to re-sit the driving test entirely.
Ms Murdock said that "peer pressure" could result in some passengers refusing to buckle up, which could have devastating consequence.
"In the North, they have limited the number of young people in a car and I think that has to be looked at (here)," she said.
"With four or five young people in a car, there's a risk of driver distraction. They may not drink and drive, but they'll sit with their backs up against the windscreen to chat with the ones in the back.
"Peer pressure for young people may (suggest) it's not cool to be seen with a belt on. You know when you hear a report about (a collision) with three people with minor injuries and one killed, that the one killed was unlikely to be wearing a seatbelt."
The Northern Assembly passed legislation in this area earlier this year. Under the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, drivers under 24 years of age cannot carry more than one young passenger aged 14 to 20 between 11pm and 6am for the first six months after passing their test.
The restriction does not apply to immediate family members, nor to passengers who are 21 years or older, have a full licence for three years, or where the car is being used for 'emergency purposes' such as taking somebody to hospital.
"This initiative is something I believe we could consider to address the worrying number of deaths and serious injuries among young drives as evidenced in our recent pre-crash reports on alcohol and speeding," Ms Murdock said.
She added that additional measures were needed to reduce the carnage on our roads, including an increase in the number of speed cameras and regulations around reconditioned tyres.