Road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists, calls on the government to make essential changes to 80 year old driving test
On the 80th anniversary of the UK driving test, road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is calling for an urgent and comprehensive overhaul of the test.
The Road Traffic Act was passed in 1934 and paved the way for the introduction of compulsory driving tests a year later. Since then, the driving test has remained largely unchanged with the exception of two amendments in 1996 and 2002, with the introduction of the theory test and hazard perception exam respectively.
The IAM is calling for a graduated system of testing drivers, where new drivers are recalled 12 months after passing their test to examine attitude changes and skills. In Austria, where the ‘second phase’ licensing system has already been introduced, young male driver casualties have dropped by a third as a result of the initiative.
The charity also advocates updating the driving test to incorporate modern technology, including sat-navs, and would like to see new drivers gain ample experience navigating country roads and driving in poor weather conditions. The charity would also like learners to gain experience in motorway driving, something which is currently restricted to drivers who have passed their test.
According to road safety charity, Brake, drivers aged between 17 and 19 only make up 1.5% of UK licence holders, but are involved in 12% of all fatal and serious road traffic collisions.
David Robinson, a serious injury solicitor who specialises in road traffic accident claims at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The UK driving test has remained largely the same for the 80 years it has been in existence, despite major technological advancements, both in terms of the vehicles people are driving and the devices used at the wheel, like sat-navs.
“Under current regulations there is no minimum time an individual should spend learning to drive, or indeed a secondary assessment of their driving ability. Young and new drivers can be on the road with just a few weeks’ experience, something which no doubt contributes to the disproportionately high number of fatalities and serious injuries among young drivers.
“The government desperately needs to invest in updating the archaic and outdated driving test while ensuring young people are educated about road safety as part of the national curriculum to help drive down the needless loss of life on UK roads.”
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