Local MSP, David Stewart,Labour has praised Diane and Graham Matheson whose eldest son Calum was killed in a road accident in 2010 for their “inspirational support”. David Stewart has been campaigning for many years to persuade the UK Government to bring in a graduated driving licence.
The graduated scheme puts a set of restrictions on new drivers who have recently passed their test.
Callum Matheson was killed on Island Bank Road in Inverness on March 28, 2010, after the car he was travelling in hit a wall. It was being driven by his friend, 17-year-old Ahlee Jackson, who was also killed.
David Stewart said:
“The Mathesons came to me soon after Callum died asking me to do something, anything, to stop the carnage on Highland and Moray roads.
“I launched a campaign for a graduated licence scheme after studying its life-saving impact in other countries where it was in operation. This scheme saves lives by restricting new drivers’ exposure to the conditions in which they are statistically most likely to crash, which is at night or while driving with their friends in the car.
“There are of course common-sense exemptions that have to be put in place. Young people couldn’t possibly be banned from driving to work after dark, for example. But the important thing is that this reduces the road crash death toll and makes our roads safer for our young ones.”
David Stewart has this week spoken in the Scottish Parliament about the graduated scheme and praising Mr and Mrs Matheson as part of Road Safety Week.
“I lodged the motion this week because I wanted to thank Diane and Graham for their inspirational support for this campaign, which will go on.”
In response Diane Matheson said:
“Graham and I both feel a graduated license is the way forward.
“Banning driving at night is going to be a difficult one because it gets dark so early in the winter here, so it would definitely need to have some leeway built-in for young drivers but if this kind of scheme can work in countries like Finland it is definitely worth trying here. We will always support David with this.
Diane Matheson continued:
“Another Xmas beckons without our darling son. An empty space at the dinner table. If we can prevent another family enduring this agony because a graduated driving license had been introduced, then this could be Callum’s legacy.”
Young motorcyclists have been subject to a form of graduated licence scheme – one that restricts young motorcyclists to light, low power, motorcycles. As they age, their licence category steps up, permitting increases in size/weight/power of motorcycles. This scheme is regulated by government. For cars, the only regulation is by the insurance companies – afterall, very few young people can afford the sky-high premiums on any car in excess of a basic car. So, time for the government to apply some form of regulated restrictions (doesn’t need to be draconian, just common-sense) to young drivers. For example, in Northern Ireland, new drivers MUST display a R-plate, for one year after passing their test, which restricts their speed to 45mph. If it saves lives, all to the good.