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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-18-11

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Lawyer calls for drink and drug courses for learner drivers

LEARNER drink and drug driving information courses should be incorporated into driving test requirements, according to a leading motoring lawyer. Frank Rogers, head of Just Motor Law, the motoring division of Kirwans law firm, which has offices, in Hoghton Street, Southport, as well as in Liverpool and Wirral, is calling for an awareness-raising element to be introduced into learner courses to ensure that drivers are completely clear of the law around driving, drink and drugs. Speaking at the National Road Safety Conference, Frank spoke of his concerns that despite the introduction of new drug driving legislation in 2015, many drivers still appeared to be passing their test with little or no knowledge of the effect that alcohol and drugs; including prescription drugs; could have on their ability to drive.

"Drivers who have been disqualified for at least 12 months for a drink drive offence can be referred to a drink drive rehabilitation (DDR) course, yet as it stands there is very little in place to educate new drivers about the dangers of driving while under the influence before they hit the roads. DDR courses have had a remarkable effect on changing the behaviour of those convicted of drink driving offences, and I firmly believe that by introducing learner driver versions of these courses, incorporating additional information on drug driving, new drivers will be far better prepared mentally to keep both themselves and others safe on the roads." Frank said.

More than 1,300 people were killed or seriously injured in drink driving incidents in 2015, and the latest figures show that alcohol is to blame for 12% of all road deaths. Road safety charity Brake also report that impairment by illegal or medical drugs was officially recorded as a contributory factor in 62 fatal road crashes and 259 crashes resulting in serious injuries in 2015, in Britain; but that experts believe that the true figure could be much higher. Frank said:- "According to the Department for Transport, offenders who attend a DDR course are 2.6 times less likely to re-offend. With that in mind, I would urge the DfT to introduce learner drivers to their own version of such a course before they even hit the roads, in the expectation that the information retained would help drivers make informed choices when it comes to drink and drugs."


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