Time to change the driving test?

JonathanApril 17, 2014

Passing a driving test is one of the major milestones in a person's life and opens up a whole host of opportunities.

Having a car is a big sign of independence allowing people, especially younger drivers, to travel all over the country. The moment of being told that they have successfully passed their test is a great thrill and puts an end to months of hard work learning the Highway Code and getting a feel of being behind the wheel. While the process of passing a driving test can be stressful, new research questioned whether the assessment is fit for purpose.

Vision Critical and road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) conducted a survey which found that 30 per cent of young drivers (aged between 18 and 25) admit to breaking the law in the first few years of securing their full licence. A further 68 per cent added that they need to improve as drivers despite passing their test a number of years ago.

Statistics show that a fifth of people killed or seriously injured in a reported road accident in the UK during 2012 were involved with at least one car driven by a young motorist. The survey has led the IAM to propose some new additions in the standard driving test. This includes the introduction of road safety education in schools and theory and hazard perceptions tests conducted online and in education establishments.

One of the main problems for attempting to learn to drive at a young age is the cost of insurance. The IAM proposes that insurance firms do not penalise learner motorists gaining experience in the family car. The organisation also wants to see a practical driving test to include high speed roads.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said:  "This survey shows that younger drivers simply don't feel adequately prepared for independent driving. The current learning system is failing the next generation of motorists and there needs to be serious review.

"Early experience of a wide range of traffic conditions is vital but so is dealing with negative attitudes."

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