Northern Ireland's new driver curfew

* Northern Ireland Assembly considers restrictions * Night-time curfew and alcohol ban proposed * England, Scotland and Wales may follow suit...

Northern Ireland's new driver curfew

The Northern Ireland Assembly is looking at imposing a night-time curfew on novice drivers.

The move follows a spate of accidents among new drivers that have resulted in death or serious injury, and mirrors proposals that are being considered for introduction in the rest of the UK.

Other changes being discussed in Northern Ireland include a minimum 12-month probationary learner-driver period, raising the age of driving unaccompanied to 18 and better hazard-perception training.

North Down MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) Peter Weir has also put forward proposals to limit the number and age of passengers a new driver can carry, and introduce a total alcohol ban.

'Newly qualified drivers are five times more likely that the average driver to be involved in a fatal or serious road collision,' he said.

Northern Ireland already operates an R-plate system - these plates must be displayed for a year and indicate that the driver is restricted to 45mph.

In addition, for the first two years after passing their test, new drivers also face harsher penalties for motoring offences and only require six penalty points to lose their licence.

Graduated licensing systems are in place in several states of the USA, as well as in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Finland, France and Northern Ireland.