A new survey has indicated that a third of young drivers are concerned that the current driving test does not adequately prepare them for the rigours of real life driving.
The survey, undertaken by insurer Co-op Insurance and Road Safety charity Brake, revealed that one in three young drivers said that, despite passing the test, they did not feel properly prepared.
Respondents felt that more preparation was needed on specific areas of driving. Three-quarters of those surveyed wanted motorway driving to be tested, and more than half wanted the test to include both day and night-time driving. Two-fifths said using a sat-nav should also be part of the exam.
The Government already plans to consult this year on plans to introduce driving lessons on motorways. And as we know, the in the new driving test trial, the use of sat navs is also already being studied. In the DfT’s Road Safety Statement published in December 2015, there was a clear objective to explore how motorway tuition pre test could be facilitated and most road safety stakeholders agree that learners would benefit from the experience of driving on a motorway with a qualified instructor in a dual-controlled car.
Opinions on the driving test were revealed by a survey of 1,000 drivers aged 17-25 - the age group most likely to have an accident.
Sarah-Jane Martin, a spokeswoman for road safety charity Brake, said: “Road crashes are the biggest killer of young people in the UK and the world.
“The research by the Co-op shows that young people agree that the driving test isn’t up to scratch and doesn’t prepare them adequately. We know young drivers are more at risk of being involved in a crash that causes death or serious injury than older drivers.”
Carly Brookfield, Driving Instructors Association, commented
‘Whilst this research provides some compelling evidence, which demonstrates that young people themselves are just as concerned about the adequacy of the test as road safety professionals are, we need to be very careful of making statements such as the ‘driving test doesn’t prepare them adequately’. There are many improvements which need to be made to the testing regime itself. However, the over-emphasis on the role the test plays in ‘preparation’ can be an unhelpful distraction to what really needs to change. A more rigorous pre-test training regime would better help prepare new drivers for the road. We do need to develop the test (and make it better assessment of whether sufficient preparation has taken place to enable that driver to take to the road independently) but, unless we start doing the things we need to do to ensure all learners move through a properly structured process of learning, we will still allow some learners to take to the road insufficiently prepared to manage the risks. Mandating a period of structured learning, for all learners - with a qualified, professional instructor - is where we need to focus our efforts. Whilst we may congratulate ourselves on our road safety record, we still lag a long way behind other countries in terms of ensuring all learners engage in sufficient pre-test preparation.’
Roads Minister Andrew Jones said the Government plans to improve the learner process.
He said: “Britain has some of the safest roads in the world but we are always looking to improve that record and encourage young drivers to practice in a wider range of conditions.
“That is why we’re looking to offer learner drivers the opportunity to drive on the motorway so they are safer when they pass their test.
“We will consult on the proposals later this year.”