Is the driving test good enough?

JonathanApril 24, 2014

For many motorists, getting your driving licence after months or years of lessons is a rite of passage that can give you your first taste of independence. However, in recent years the UK's test has come under criticism with many saying that it isn't preparing new drivers for the trials of the roads.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) of young drivers between the ages of 18 and 25 admitted to breaking the law during the first few years on the road. 

This is according to a poll by Vision Critical and road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), which also found that many younger drivers feel they need to improve their skills.

However, it isn't just about traffic violations or other small misdemeanors, as a quarter of new motorists admit to having a crash. This suggests that the current road test is not equipping drivers with the right skills to keep them safe and confident on the UK's network.

Official statistics back this up too. A fifth of people killed or seriously injured in reported road accidents in the UK in 2012 were involved in a collision where at least one of the cars was driven by a young driver.

More than 32,400 accidents involved at least one young driver, which resulted in 350 deaths and more than 4,1000 seriously injured casualties in 2012, and nearly a quarter of all car drivers who died in 2012 were young motorists.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said that these figures show that young drivers "simply don't feel adequately prepared for independent driving". 

He added that the current system is "failing" this generation of motorists and called for a "serious review". 

"Early experience of a wide range of traffic conditions is vital but so is dealing with negative attitudes. This can be done most effectively through peer group discussions rather than just relying on stricter controls and curfews," added Mr Best.

The IAM wants to see road safety education introduced in the school curriculum, as well as theory and hazard perception tests to be given in schools. The organisation also wants to stop insurance companies from penalising L drivers who want to gain experience in the family car, as well as seeing motorways included in the test.

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