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.