Posted: Wed 24th Jan 2024

Public Health Wales backs Gradual Driver Licensing to enhance road safety

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jan 24th, 2024

Public Health Wales is supporting the introduction of a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system across the UK.

This system allows new drivers to develop skills and experience gradually while being less exposed to danger.

The implementation of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) could save lives in the UK, as per a consultation response by Public Health Wales.

In its response to the Welsh Government’s 12-week consultation, ‘Road Safety in Wales – A New Road Safety Strategy’, Public Health Wales advocated for a road safety strategy that centres on public health.

This strategy aims to address inequalities arising from the road traffic environment and prioritises walking, cycling, and public transport.

A GDL system progressively enhances the driving skills and experience of new drivers, particularly those under 25.

It might include rules like prohibiting these new drivers from carrying other young passengers or driving late at night.

There is also a recommendation for stricter alcohol limits for these drivers.

Public Health Wales has also suggested reducing pedestrian crossing wait times while extending the time allowed to cross.

Other specific policy suggestions include ensuring that cycling infrastructure is clearly separated from other motor vehicles and that “paint only” cycle lanes are inadequate.

Public Health Wales also emphasised the need for a social marketing campaign. This campaign would inform the public about road costs and the priority of road users.

They aim to clarify that roads are funded by everyone through taxes, and the most vulnerable users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, should be prioritised over cars.

They also propose involving public health specialists in the creation of the road safety strategy from the start. This is to ensure it effectively promotes health and safety.

Dr Sarah Jones, Consultant in Environmental Public Health at Public Health Wales, commented: “Historically, our road network has been designed prioritising private motor vehicle users. ”

“However, it’s increasingly evident that this approach is not suitable for the future.”

“A shift in transport modes is needed to encourage more people to opt for walking, cycling, or public transport over cars.”

“This change is crucial for Wales to develop a road system that aids in decarbonisation, reducing air pollution, addressing the climate emergency, and reducing access inequalities.”

“A road safety strategy is essentially a public health strategy.”

“All elements of the new strategy should be thoroughly considered in terms of their potential to protect, improve, or harm health.”

“To this end, Public Health Wales recommends the involvement of public health specialists in the development of the road safety strategy from its inception.”

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