The Ulster Farmers’ Union says it continues to monitor developments closely as the proposed Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, taken forward by Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan, progresses through the NI Assembly, which if not implemented correctly, could have a negative impact on young drivers in rural areas.
The UFU met with the NI Assembly’s Environment Committee in October and made the case that some of the measures in the proposed Bill would have a disproportionate detrimental effect on young drivers in rural areas.
“In particular the initial proposals for a 12-month training period proposed before a young person could take their test and the limit on the number of young passengers a young driver may carry would have had an unwelcome and unnecessary impact on young people, both financially and socially,” said UFU deputy president Barclay Bell.
“Young people in rural areas do not have alternative options available to them when it comes to getting around. This proposal would seriously limit their mobility and jeopardise measures being put in place to tackle rural isolation,” he said.
The UFU stresses that it is not opposed to the entire Bill and says that within it there are some very welcome measures – notably the removal of the 45mph speed limit and also the introduction of the compulsory wearing of helmets on quads whilst driving on the road.
“Despite those and other positives, the UFU cannot support measures that would negatively impact young people because they live in rural areas,” said Mr Bell.
Some progress has already been made on a number of concerns raised by the UFU and it will continue to monitor this proposed Bill as it progresses through the NI Assembly’s legislative process.