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Changes to learner driving in Northern Ireland
Radical changes to the rules governing learner drivers in Northern Ireland have been announced by Environment Minister Alex Attwood. Legislation to be introduced by the end of the year will permit a lower provisional licence age of 16½. It will also remove the 45 mph restriction on learners and newly-qualified drivers.
The move was welcomed by the insurance industry which claims it will lead to lower premiums and safer drivers. However, the road safety charity Brake has opposed the lowering of the age for provisional licences.
Under the new rules, learner drivers will be allowed to take lessons on motorways when accompanied by a fully qualified driving instructor in a dual-controlled car.
Provisional licence holders will undergo a mandatory minimum learning period of 12 months.