Young people should be banned from driving at night-time to reduce road deaths, according to the former Transport Minister Shane Ross.

It comes as the UK Government considers the introduction of a graduated licence system for newly qualified drivers – including a night-time curfew.

The proposals also include a minimum learning period and a ban on carrying passengers under a certain age.

Road deaths

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, the former Transport Minister Shane Ross said it is “absolutely statistically undeniable” that younger people are involved in more car crashes.

He noted that Ireland’s road deaths increased last year and have increased again in the first eight months of this year.

“I understand that it is extremely irritating for certain families and young people getting their licence that they would have to go through this sort of gradual phase of coming on to the road – but it is not anything to do with attacking young drivers,” he said.

“What you see here are people dying. We are seeing more people dying with less cars on the roads not more. There were less cars on the roads last year and yet in Ireland, our numbers went up.

“This is about saving lives and if we can see that bringing people on gradually – and remember young people have more accidents – we have got to concentrate on the areas that have more accidents.

“It is absolutely statistically undeniable that young people between the ages of 17 and 30 really have more accidents and they are more reckless – young males in particular – and so it is the duty of the minister for transport and others to say OK what can we do to save other people’s lives and their lives?”

Curfew

He noted that, in the UK, drivers aged 17 to 19-years-old make up just 1.5% of licence holders; however, they were involved in 9% of accidents leading to fatalities.

“I don’t think it is too much to look at and examine the possibility of saying to young people, yes you have got your license, but we are going to bring you on gradually because statistically people of your age have a lot of accidents and kill themselves and kill others,” he said.

“So, you get experience on the road for six months, you can only drive for certain hours.”

“Nanny State”

Also on the show, Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said it is “so wrong” to tar all young people with the same brush.

“Going attacking new young drivers just because they are young and they are starting out in life and denying them the same opportunity and putting an embargo on them – a curfew telling them they are not allowed out at a certain time of night – I just simply don’t agree with it,” he said.

“We are becoming a nanny state. We are trying to wrap people up in cotton wool.”

He said there are thousands of young people in IRewland who got up early this morning and drove into work because they had no public transport option.

“Telling young people that they can’t go out after nine or 10pm at night or something, that to me is crazy, it is not fair and it is wrong,” he said.

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