A Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYP) has hit out at road safety proposals made by a North-east MSP.
Kris Chapman, who is MSYP for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, has raised concerns about plans put forward by North-east MSP Mark McDonald.
Mr McDonald’s proposals, which are aimed at motorists aged 17 to 25, include a curfew on night-time driving, a ban on young drivers carrying passengers and a complete ban on young people consuming any alcohol before driving.
Commenting, MSYP Kris Chapman said: “I encourage Mark’s work to encourage road safety. But if he really wants to go down the road to better drivers of all age groups, I suggest he makes more of an effort to improve education and less of what seems to be an ill-thought-out attempt to criminalise younger drivers.
“What I have already been highlighting to Scottish Youth Parliament colleagues is the great work that Safe Drive Stay Alive does as a road safety campaign in the North East.
“We need to look at a much more controlled introduction to driving, like we have for motorcyclists who have to go through several stages before being permitted to drive. The way to improve safety is to educate drivers of all ages, not punish them.
“It appears to me – and many of my colleagues – that Mr McDonald is aiming to just criminalise younger drivers.”
Kris continued: “According to Grampian Police, research shows that ‘Young Drivers’ are the holders of only around 10% of all UK driving licences. In the North East between 2004 and 2009, the average number of those killed, per year, was 44 and the number of those seriously injured was 293. Of that total number two-thirds were over the age of 25 accounting for the majority of the road deaths in the region.
“The youth council has invited Mr McDonald to attend our meeting this month to answer questions on his policy as we feel it is of great concern to us. I hope he can come along to clarify his points. Before I can start to take his points on board I need to understand how curfews and bans would be enforced, paid for, and implemented, especially with the savage cuts police forces are currently suffering from the Scottish Government.”
Fraserburgh and District Councillor Brian Topping, who is also Chair of the Fraserburgh Community Safety Group, commented: “I know Mark well. I welcome him putting forward anything that encourages better driving.
“On North-east roads, the number of deaths is amongst the highest in Scotland.
“We’ve been supporting Pass Plus which makes young drivers better and more competent drivers. I also attend Safe Drive Stay Alive which encourages safe and sensible driving. We’re trying to do everything we can to make people feel safe.
“I also welcome reducing the drink-drive limit, that is a step in the right direction. Many people, including the Aberdeenshire Community Safety Partnership and other bodies are all working together.”