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