Road Safety News
 

Government closes foreign licence loophole

Tuesday 15th January 2013

The Government has closed a loophole which has allowed foreign drivers from countries where the driving test may be less rigorous to swap their licence for a UK licence (Telegraph).

Until now foreign drivers from a number of countries within and beyond the EU have been entitled to exchange their licence with the UK under reciprocal arrangements.

According to the Telegraph report, while there are no problems with EU members, there have been concerns about the swap arrangement with a number of other countries where the driving test is less rigorous than in the UK.

The change, announced by road safety minister Stephen Hammond, will apply to nine countries: Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, Zimbabwe. There have been 109,000 licence swaps involving drivers from these countries over the past five years.

The move is primarily aimed at improving road safety, but will also help prevent driving licences being fraudulently used as identity documents.

Stephen Hammond said: “It is obvious to everyone that drivers who have not been through a rigorous driving test will not be as safe as those who have.

“By closing this loophole we will not only make Britain’s roads even safer, but will help tackle fraud and level the playing field for British drivers who spend time and money learning to drive at the standard required in the UK.”

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.

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Yet more official stupidity! No one could sensibly believe that a licence gained in New Zealand, Australia or Switzerland is less good that one gained in (say) Lithuania or other Eastern European member states.

But of course the Government are not allowed by the EU to discriminate against them - so they choose to discriminate against our kith and kin instead. And against those who usually drive on the left as we do.

If the real problem is not those who actually passed their tests in those countries, but those who gained licenses there based on passes gained in other countries then the rational solution is for licenses to identify where the test was passed.

Too simple? I fear so.
Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts

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