Graduated Driver Licensing

Closed 17 Jan 2018

Opened 8 Nov 2017


Prior to the introduction of The Road Traffic (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 (“the Act”) the Department carried out an extensive consultation process on the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) measures from March to July 2011.  (The full consultation and synopsis can be obtained by contacting the Project Team at the following email address:  As a result, the Act provides the powers to introduce a package of measures to reform the learner and restricted driver/rider schemes and to introduce GDL in Northern Ireland. 

Throughout this document a reference to driver includes rider, a reference to vehicle includes both car and motorcycle and a reference to practical test includes that for car and motorcycle unless otherwise stated.

Overall, the features of the Act, as applicable to GDL, are:

  • Introduction of a 6 month mandatory minimum learning period (this will not apply to motorcyclists)
  • A programme of training
  • A compulsory student logbook
  • Removal of the current 45mph speed restriction which will allow lessons to be taken on a motorway, where appropriate
  • Introduction of a passenger carrying restriction (this will not apply to motorcyclists)
  • Extension of the current 12 month restriction period to a 24 month ‘new driver/rider’ period and,
  • To require the display of a distinguishing mark (plate) on the vehicle for two years after receiving a full licence

The Act also provides the powers to create remedial courses as an alternative to licence revocation for new drivers who offended.  This will be taken forward at a later date and does not form part of this consultation.

The Act contains powers to define the structure of some elements of GDL; and to decide how and when certain elements will be implemented. This consultation sets out some of these options and seeks your views on the Department’s proposals to bring these powers into operation. 

This document is available in a range of formats please contact us with your requirements.

Contact details are:

•   Graduated Driver Licensing Project Management Office

GDL Consultation Responses
c/o Old Court House
County Hall     
Castlerock Road
BT51 3HS


•   028 7034 6928 (for Text Relay prefix number with 18001).


What Happens Next

A summary of responses will be published within 3 months of the consultation closing.

Paper copies available upon request.


  • Political Representatives
  • Carers
  • Employers
  • Employers
  • Disability Organisations
  • People with Disabilities
  • Community & Voluntary Organisations
  • Schools
  • Academic Staff
  • Teachers
  • Parents
  • School Students
  • Prospective Higher Education Students
  • Higher Education Students
  • Students
  • MOD
  • Supervising Drivers
  • Approved Motorcyclist Instructors
  • Approved Driving Instructors
  • Bikers
  • Motorcyclists
  • Riders
  • Drivers
  • Young Drivers
  • Learner Riders
  • Learner Motorcyclist
  • Learner Driver


  • Policing
  • Employment
  • Equality
  • Rural
  • Community
  • Disability
  • Higher Education
  • Skills for Life
  • MMLP
  • Mandatory Minimum Learning Period
  • Programme of Training
  • Graduated Driver Licensing
  • GDL
  • Passenger Restriction
  • Eco safe
  • L Plates
  • R Plates
  • Motorway Riding
  • Motorway Driving
  • Changes to the Driving Test
  • Driving Test Changes
  • Driving Test