An Aberdeen councillor has slammed proposals that could lead to restrictions on young drivers fearing it could hit the north-east hardest.
The UK Department for Transport (DfT) is considering the introduction of a graduated licence for new drivers in a bid to reduce accidents.
Restrictions could be brought in bannning new drivers from going out on the road at night and driving with passengers under a certain age.
But Aberdeen councillor Michael Hutchison believes the proposed changes could have an adverse impact on the region.
He said, while he supports efforts to improve road safety, he believes the restrictions would set a “curfew” on young motorists living in rural areas.
Mr Hutchison, who represents George Street and the harbour, said the changes would be an “unreasonable restriction”.
He said they would hit young people as they go about their regular business.
Mr Hutchison said: “I think that this would be a completely unreasonable restriction on young people’s liberties.
“For many young people living in rural locations, including across the north-east, this would effectively act as a curfew on them going out at night.
“I support efforts to improve road safety, but there needs to be a balance struck.
“Time restrictions would pose huge issues for young people and would impact on their ability to work, study and socialise.”
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Graduated driving schemes already operate in New Zealand, parts of Australia and certain states in the US.
Road Safety Minister Michael Ellis said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world, but we are always looking at ways to make them safer.
“Getting a driving licence is exciting for young people, but it can also be daunting as you’re allowed to drive on your own for the first time.
“We want to explore in greater detail how graduated driver licensing, or aspects of it, can help new drivers to stay safe and reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads.”
The move towards introducing the proposals in the UK has already gained the support of road safety charity Brake.
Joshua Harris from the group said: “We must do all we can to keep young drivers safe and this starts with making our licensing process more robust, so that when a young driver passes the test, they have all the necessary tools and knowledge to drive safely on all roads and in all conditions.
“Brake supports a comprehensive graduated driver licensing system for the UK as its proven to work and can reduce the tragic numbers of young people being involved in fatal and serious crashes on our roads.”
And AA president Edmund King said: “We believe that other measures, such as putting road safety on the national curriculum, would be beneficial to the safety of new and young drivers.”