THE government has moved towards introducing graduated driving licences for young motorists in a major success for the Lancashire Telegraph’s Wasted Lives campaign.

The Department of Transport yesterday announced research into new restrictions on drivers fresh behind the wheel.

A graduated driving licence scheme for under-25s for two years after passing their test was the central demand of the campaign launched in 2007 after the death of Matthew Hannon, 22, who crashed his car at 60mph while racing a friend through Blackburn.

Wasted Lives called for a scheme banning under-25s from motorway driving before two specialist lessons, driving over 50mph on any other road, driving at night or having more than one passenger under 25 in the car with them.

Yesterday road safety minister Michael Ellis promised to explore introducing a graduated driver licence and new research into its impact on accidents, deaths and injuries.

Matthew’s father Terry Hannon, 50, said: “This is good news and to be applauded.

“I am up for anything which makes our roads safer for young drivers.

“A focussed road safety scheme like this would be a fitting tribute to Matthew and the thousands of other young people who have lost their lives.

“The Lancashire Telegraph’s ‘Wasted Lives’ campaign has been absolutely brilliant and I am sure has contributed to the government taking notice and doing something on this issue.

“What we need now is for an effective scheme to be implemented. It’s long overdue.”

Blackburn MP Kate Hollern said: “I welcome these proposals. Too many lives are lost, and families destroyed, by dangerous driving, and there is no doubt that in inexperienced hands a car can be a lethal weapon.

“ I commend the Lancashire Telegraph for its ‘Wasted Lives’ campaign.”

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Former Blackburn MP Jack Straw said: “This a positive move and a vindication of the Lancashire Telegraph’s sustained campaign on this issue. What the government now needs to do is act on this.”

Mr Ellis said: “For more than a decade, the Lancashire Telegraph and its community have been courageous in their campaign for change to prevent further tragedy.

“We want to explore in greater detail how graduated driver licensing can help new drivers to stay safe and reduce the number of people killed on our roads.”

Joshua Harris, from campaign group Brake, said: “Young drivers are involved in nearly a fifth of all fatal crashes on our road.

“Brake has long called for the introduction of graduated driver licensing, a solution which we know works, and so we welcome the announcement but urge swift and decisive action to introduce the policy.”