posted 4 years ago

Driving Test Needs “Comprehensive Overhaul”

Driving Test Has To Evolve To Stay Relevant

The 80 year old driving test should be comprehensively overhauled to ensure it stays fit for purpose, a safety charity has claimed.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists has argued that it “does not include any testing of a driver’s ability” to cope with country roads, poor weather or driving at night. It claimed these elements are the main risk factor in the first 6 months of solo driving.

Road Accidents Biggest Killer Of Young People

Road accidents are the biggest killer of youngsters in the United Kingdom, Dods Monitoring says. In 2013, there were 191 people aged under 24 killed and 20,003 injured (cars and motorcycles). The figures for 2009 to 2013 were 1,037 fatalities and 120,958 injured.

New Driver Graduated Licensing

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research, said: “The driving test needs to become a much more integrated part of a graduated licensing system that picks up on best practice from around the world. For instance, Austria has a second phase licensing system where young drivers come back in the first 12 months after the test for further interventions to examine attitude changes and skills.”

Mr Greig added that the test assesses drivers to a high standard but has: “Fallen behind what is urgently needed”. He said: “This must be addressed as a matter of urgency by the next government.”

Changes To How Drivers Are Taught

The charity would like the new driver training system to evolve too. Proposed changes include: putting safety on the National Curriculum, introducing a minimum period of learning before students can sit the practical exam, testing new drivers on high speed roads, limiting the number of peer passengers allowed in cars, and introducing a lower drink-drive limit for the newly qualified. It also wants learners to be allowed on motorways so that they can “learn from an expert” rather than on their own.

History of Driving Test In The UK

The Road Traffic Act passed into law in 1934 and paved the way for compulsory testing the following year. Subsequent changes include the introduction of the theory test in 1996 – that requires participants to answer a series of multi-choice questions - and the hazard perception element that followed in 2002. The latter requires learners to watch a video of a vehicle travelling down a street, then identify hazards such as a child by pressing a button.


Practical tests are improving slowly but there are still significant gaps. You are taught to parallel park in a large space but what about a tight one? Similarly, there is no training for motorway driving and no training for driving at night. Further, they should reduce the number of minors permitted from 14 to far, far less. Lack of indication is my pet hate - especially on roadabouts.

Driving standards on motorways are dreadful: Middle lane hogging, tailgating, incorrect use of indicators. parking lights and rear fog lights are far too common. Why are so many people unaware or don't care: 1. They have not been taught. 2. They are not interested or aware. 3. They 'think' the rules don't apply to them. 4. There is little enforcement of 'bad' driving as opposed to illegal driving. And there is precious little enforcement and effective punishment of illegal, unlicensed, and uninsured drivers. Things need to change far more radically than this proposal. It is pointless making rules and then being both unable or unwilling to enforce them.

I agree with some of what's been said perhaps start teaching children when they are at school perhaps getting them to take there theory exam whilst they are still at school? I'm fed up with the blame labeled at the young the old male or female, I passed my test when I was 50 I'm 55 now and I'm still learning! I hate some peoples attitude on the road for example I was taught to wait at a crossing until a pedestrian was safely on the pavement and check incase some one else wants to cross at the last minute! but no I'm beeped and harassed. Slowing down to allow someone to pullout giving them space and time (yes I check my mirrors) The real world of driving is bad tempered and dangeruous! I sometimes wonder if I'm better off not bothering. I come from London but live in a village in Hampshire I drive to Basingstoke (donut) city. My driving is varied country roads, motorways and dualcarriage ways so if I had to take my test again I'd hope I would pass with flying colours!

The driving test has only ever been a test of basic competency to see if a driving novice is sufficiently competent and confident enough to be allowed to go forth and learn to drive. It is not until a novice has completed a couple of solo driving years, had a few close encounters, experienced the worst of the weather and the worst of other drivers and road users they can start calling themselves drivers with any justification. Certainly the driving test needs a major overhaul but whatever the test eventually becomes it will still never be able to fit an old head on young shoulders, curb the natural impatience of youth or provide the arrogant, angry and ill-mannered with some genuine patience, courtesy and humility. These are essential qualities for a good driver. It must be recognised many of the ordinary cars driven today by novice drivers have power-to-weight ratios that provides performance that a few short years ago would have been reserved for a limited number of prestige cars, generally only within the financial reach of the more mature and financially comfortable. I believe there should be at least three classes of driving licence which depending on age, experience and which test is passed limits the entitlement to drive cars and motorcycles of different power-to-weight ratio groups. No one should be able to take to the road on or in a vehicle with more than about 75 bhp per ton unless over 21 years old and have completed a high speed driving course and an advanced driving test.

This is not just about young drivers. The so called experienced drivers don't know what they are doing most of the time. For instance they drive straight across a mini roundabout thinking they have right of way which they don't until their front wheels have gone across the broken line and they are actually on the roundabout. I drive 75000 to 100000 miles a year and can say that I probably avoid at least 3 accidents a day because of someone else's stupidity and more to the point their arrogance. The standard of driving in this country is absolutely diabolical. I think they should have a driving test every 5 Years they the driver has to pay for and if they fail they cannot drive until they have passed.

Why not limit engine size and power to all persons passing there tests,I e 17-19 year olds can only drive cars of 1000 cc or less,just like they did to motorbikes.

I paid quite a lot of money to train as a driving instructor but after a fairly short time I just could not believe what they expected us to teach pupils.

I Think it's a good idea to improve the safety of the new drivers which in turn would improve the safety of existing road users. Every car is a potential lethal weapon when you consider that it weights around a ton and legally travels up to 70mph. I Think that all learner drivers should have a minimum amount of hours of training before being able to take a driving test and go out on their own, especially when travelling at high speeds and night driving. It would cost more money to obtain a full licence, but every parent should be happy in the knowledge that their sons and daughters not only know how to pass a test, but are safe on our ever increasingly busy roads.