DVSA partners with Good Egg in young driver pilot scheme

10.15 | 5 March | | 16 comments

A pilot scheme with DVSA driving test centres has been launched in a bid to reduce the number of ‘major incidents’ involving young drivers and their passengers.

Six road safety teams – in Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, Liverpool and the London Boroughs of Lewisham and Hillingdon – have been selected to provide a free guide aimed at reducing the average of 168 road users aged 17-24 years killed or seriously injured on UK roads each month.

Created by Good Egg Drivers, the guide, entitled ‘Getting your licence and keeping it… everything you need to know’, highlights the dangers young drivers face at the wheel while providing ‘positive, practical advice’.

The guide was developed in collaboration with academics and road safety experts to provide ‘clear warnings’ on the dangers posed by passenger distraction, mobile phones, alcohol, drugs and speeding.

It also contains practical advice on matters including insurance and buying your first car.

Thousands of copies of the guide will be provided to practical test centres through road safety officers in the six pilot regions, with support materials placed in theory test centres.

Jan James, founder of Good Egg Drivers, said: “Collisions involving our youngest drivers are so frequent that we have, in a sense, almost become desensitised to the tragic reports we see with alarming regularity.

“Our guides are not designed to be ‘preachy’ – they are very straightforward and wholly focused on the key messages new drivers urgently need to be aware of.”

Bill Pope, head of publishing with the DVSA, said: “Driving test centres are a great place for road safety officers and Good Egg Drivers to give young motorists extra help to stay safe on the roads.”


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    A booklet may not save someone’s life, however the information contained within it just might.

    Having compulsory speed limiters, drug and alcohol locks and kits which block phone signals would certainly be a major help and, indeed, the introduction of Graduated Driving Licences which is backed up by irrefutable evidence of efficacy in crash and casualty reduction.

    In the meantime, while we are waiting, and young drivers and their passengers continue to be at high risk; these guides and associated programmes might help.

    They don’t ‘end up in the bin’… we see students carefully putting them in their school and college bags to reread. Why? Because it gives them information they want to know about how to pass their test and keep their licence. How to identify the best instructors etc

    That’s the intent.

    Before you rubbish it, talk to the recipients who actually read and use them. No ‘tax money’ involved. Only the private funding from enlightened organisations who’ve taken the time to study the evidence.

    Jan James CEO Good Egg Drivers, London
    Agree (5) | Disagree (1)

    Will a booklet really save anyone’s life? Young people are an awkward lot and I doubt they will pay much attention to this, let alone change their driving behaviour after reading it!

    I appreciate it might be a trial but surely we should be testing these kinds of things to see if they work before spending tax payer’s money on something that will probably just end up in the bin.

    If we want to stop young drivers crashing they should be driving cars with compulsory speed limiters, drug and alcohol locks, and something that blocks all phone signals! This is just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

    Simon Lewis, London
    Agree (3) | Disagree (4)

    I go with your reasoning, Hugh. Then there was the case of the car which rammed the back of a lorry because the driver did not know how to switch off the cruise control! Talk about not having the brain engaged. If he was that switched off then he was probably highly vulnerable in other areas as well. So if he hadn’t crashed that way it was highly likely he could have been caught out another way. When will they learn? Nottingham University Psychology department apparently did research some years ago which showed the more so-called safety features and gizmos which are added to a vehicle the less attention the driver pays. So that was a classic example, in my view.

    Nigel ALBRIGHT
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

    A bit off the subject of this news item perhaps Nigel, but no doubt you are aware of the court case last week of the multi-fatal M1 crash when a stationary minibus was hit at speed from behind, by an HGV. The driver of the latter, who admitted he had lost concentration due to ‘phone use was indeed prosecuted for causing death by careless driving, but the driver of the stationary HGV which had stopped in lane 1, was prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving. This may be down to strict interpretation of the law, but I did wonder whether it should have been the other way around.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

    Bob and Hugh are spot on with their comment about safe following distance in particular. Space and time are your friend. Bob’s comment about 30% of crashes being front to rear end shunts is a salient point. There should be prosecution for any vehicle going into the back of another, which would, in my view generate a quantum leap in road safety. That is also where RS should be pushing the government.

    But in relation to Jan’s comment about pacing out the distance, try thinking of it in seconds: 2 seconds minimum, preferably 3-4 seconds is what should be aimed for. But it is not only space to the front. A driver needs to think of safe space all round. Recent comments about a potential prosecution for passing cyclists too closely just fits with the rule that one should leave at least five feet, also, ideally the same when passing parked vehicles in case anyone opens a door. And if a driver is following too closely behind then one needs more space to the front. And if safe spaces to the side cannot be achieved a driver should slow down so that if anything does happen he or she can still pull up in time. All of these things should be basic stuff taught by ADIs.

    As Lord Montague of Beaulieu wrote in his book, The Art of Driving a Motor Car, ‘It is your job, not the other fellow’s to avoid danger’. The book was written in 1906 and that basic Tennant is still the fundamental of remaining safe on the roads today. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. Loosely, in other words, be alert and don’t blame other people if you get into trouble.

    Agree (3) | Disagree (0)


    It would be good to talk with you directly about this. You raise a valuable point. One of the key issues we find in our Good Egg Driver Workshops is that, because students don’t know the difference between an ADI and a PDI, they are unable to make an informed decision. The ‘cost’ of their lessons therefore inevitably become a primary consideration. We explore that fully with them.

    The question we ask is simple. When students say that ‘cost’ is a key determinant behind instructor selection, we question what they actually mean about cost. Do they mean that they pay more per hour but get a great instructor who takes them out on unfamiliar roads, gets them to drive in all weather conditions, helps them to read the road as well as manage a car, and ultimately who helps them pass their test – when and only when they are ready for it?

    Therefore, reducing their likelihood of being involved in a collision and all the attendant financial costs (not to mention personal dangers) that would bring. An approach which will ultimately ‘cost’ them a lot less.

    We then explore the opposite approach where, if price is the only consideration; they are more likely to get a less qualified instructor who may take short cuts and cost less per hour but likely end up actually costing them much more. This always gives them pause for thought. They have never considered it from that alternative perspective.

    This information is vital and we, as a non-profit Community Interest Company, are happy to play our role in getting this message out to as many potential new drivers as possible. What we really need is Government funding and support to facilitate it.

    Jan James CEO Good Egg Drivers, London
    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

    This advice would not be necessary if all driving instructors did their job properly. Most Learner drivers, and their parents, only want to purchase cheap lessons from ‘el cheapo’ downmarket ADIs, and therefore they get what they pay for. It is that simple! Good ADIs do not even get out of bed for less that £30 per hour.

    There will be no change until the Government – DfT, DVSA and very importantly, parents and teenagers come to terms with the fact that IF they want high quality driver training they will have to pay ‘top dollar’ to get it. It is that simple!

    Potential ADIs should be interviewed, their education standard assessed, knowledge of the RTA examined, before successful candidates start a full-time training course – similar to Norwegian syllabus. The rip-off PDI system is a national disgrace, it is perfectly feasible to qualify to the simple ‘green badge’ standard without being a ‘pinky’.

    Part-time ADIs also need to ‘up-their-game’, their severely limited capabilities through ‘skill-fade’ leaves them inadequately prepared for delivering comprehensive driver training / education. Doing a few lessons between the ‘school runs’ should be outlawed.

    Relying on charities to ‘do something’ about improving driving standards is outrageous, and wholly unacceptable.

    Russell Jones
    Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

    As an ADI I appreciate a clever resource that states the facts, extremely informative and isn’t ‘preachy’ to this age group. Love the fact that the DVSA recognise this guide too. Its so important to make sure that new drivers are forearmed with knowledge. I look forward to the results of the pilot, hope it goes well and then see the guide rolled out out across the UK.

    I’d like some for my pupils please.

    Emma Norton ADI, Dorset
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

    We have had the benefit of the Good Egg team’s expertise. They have worked directly with our S6 pupils. The material and all aspects of the workshops were engaging. Pupils enjoyed the experience and more importantly learned about how to be a safe driver. This can be a hard client group to crack and this material does work.

    Anne Connor, Edinburgh
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    It is true that most of what Hugh said is trotted out endlessly and he forgot the most common of those and that is speeding [over the limit]. That is a sore point throughout the year and the police do their job in detecting those that would drive over the speed limit from time to time but appear to do absolutely nothing or very little for those that fail to appreciate that its inappropriate speed and a lack of the understanding of safe following on distances that does most of the harm such as taking a bend to fast by not slowing in time or driving down a busy main road or a quiet residential street at an unsafe speed rather than normally up to the speed limit and therefore with little or no regards to the amount of safe distance that should be adopted. Not just at 20 or 30 mph but throughout all the higher speed limits.

    Bob Craven, Lancs
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    Hugh, you raise a valid question and one I’d be pleased to answer.

    The target audience of new drivers know little about the road safety stuff you say keeps getting trotted out. That’s the point of including it.

    We know this from our Good Egg Driver Workshops, where we’ve had the privilege of working with thousands of bright and engaged students who want to know more.

    They’ve no idea that their chance of being crash involved increases exponentially the more passengers are in the car with them.

    They’re never able to pace out the correct stopping distances between a car travelling at 30mph and a car travelling at 20mph (all other things being equal)

    They’re unaware of the important new drug drive legislation which came out in England/Wales (more than two years ago!) and what that might mean for them as an impaired driver or passenger.

    They can’t even articulate, in the majority of cases, who the hell is actually teaching them to drive. Instructor selection is critical yet they don’t even know the difference between a green (ADI) and pink (PDI) badge.

    They are very responsive to these messages and very supportive of the guides, which are always pretested first with the same target group. They go out of their classrooms clutching their guides carefully. These are never found abandoned round their school or colleges.

    Professor Steve Stradling’s comment below was a generous one however it is he and all the other top academics and road safety professionals who helped us develop it, who deserve full credit; not forgetting Liz Brooker MBE who seed funded the original guide for Lewisham.

    Good Egg Drivers is the result of great partnership and collaboration by many good people – too many to credit here. It’s one of many other good young driver initiatives.

    We all need to work together to get these casualty stats down. Young people need and deserve it.

    We are very grateful to the DVSA for this opportunity.

    Jan James, London
    Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

    How about this for a common sense driving policy. Stay as far away as possible from the vehicle in front giving a good follow on or stopping distance and and if the clear distance in front reduces closer and closer just slow and drive slower and slower.

    Driving too close to the vehicle in front can end up with a rear end collision which represents something like 30% of the known reported collisions that occur on our roads so follow the Highway Code or the DVSA advice for full stopping distances. With greater distance between all vehicles there will be fewer collisions at junctions (smidsys) which is a massive chunk off the % table for collisions reduced.

    Space and speed are vitally important for all safe driving.

    Bob Craven
    Agree (8) | Disagree (0)

    I found this tremendously informative and would highly recommend. As a teacher of young people these common sense stategies often elude them so this is a perfect reference.

    Phil Deans, Edinburgh
    Agree (2) | Disagree (3)

    Yes, all well and good, but now and again, instead of trotting out the same (but always valid) messages of ‘passenger distraction, mobile phones, alcohol, drugs and speeding’ as if they’ve just been copied from a road safety manual, can we mention other equally important aspects of good driving e.g. scanning the road ahead; creating a safety space; patience; defensive driving..and many more. If the public keep hearing the same key phrases they may get a bit immune to it, as if the road safety fraternity doesn’t know what else to say – a new angle to give the ‘audience’ something to think about might help.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (12) | Disagree (2)

    Fantastic effort Jan!

    Nichola Buchanan, Cambridge
    Agree (2) | Disagree (2)

    Nice one Jan. You’re a star.

    Steve Stradling
    Agree (6) | Disagree (2)