Driving test hits 80, RAC wants major reforms

March 17, 2015 | By | In News

The driving test reached its 80th birthday yesterday, but rather than celebrate the progress made over the last eight decades, road safety groups are demanding that this milestone be used as a catalyst to save the lives of hundreds of new drivers with major reforms.

?Despite the driving test steadily becoming more thorough over the years, motoring organisations the RAC Foundation and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) are pushing the Government to make further changes to the process of learning to drive after the general election on May 7, in attempt to reduce the number of young people dying on the roads every year.

Following the recent raft of fatalities in cars driven by young motorists, many figures have argued that the current driving test setup has fallen behind what is needed to keep motorists safe, writes This is Money. As a result, the RAC Foundation and IAM want to see a driving test that is “fit for the 21st century”, with graduated licences being issued to new drivers, which could impose nighttime curfews and limit the number of passengers that young drivers could carry.

We have yet to tackle the disproportionate number of young people being killed soon after they get their licences. This is where we believe a system of graduated licensing would help.

Other new rules could mean that new drivers would have to learn for at least a year and only gain a final full licence after a two year probationary period.

Such a graduated licence takes inspiration from countries such as Austria where new drivers have to return for a driving reassessment during their first 12 months on the road, which has been cited for cutting the amount of young male driver casualties by a third.

Highlighting the seriousness of the issue, director of the RAC Foundation, Professor Stephen Glaister has said that despite ever safer vehicles the amount of young drivers being killed still needs to be addressed: “We have yet to tackle the disproportionate number of young people being killed soon after they get their licences. This is where we believe a system of graduated licensing would help.”

Picture: Alexander Raths

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