A new Bill which would make first aid training mandatory to receive a driving licence has been introduced to Parliament.
The Driving Licence (Mandatory First Aid Training) Bill was presented to the House of Commons by Will Quince, Conservative MP for Colchester, on 8 March.
With the backing of the British Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance, the Bill calls for prospective drivers to undergo a four-hour practical first-aid course run by an approved provider before they can be granted a licence.
Mr Quince says that the move has the potential to reduce road deaths and boost knowledge of life-saving skills.
He cites a St John Ambulance survey which found that 59% of people would not feel confident enough to save a life, while 24% of people at the scene of an accident would do nothing until an ambulance arrived.
Countries including Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Austria currently have similar laws in place. In Switzerland, prospective drivers must prove they have received at least 10 hours of certified first-aid training in order to qualify for a driving theory test.
In presenting his Bill to Parliament, Mr Quince said: “A review of road traffic in Europe cited by the World Health Organisation claims that 50% of deaths from road collisions occurred within a few minutes of the crash.
“So often there isn’t time for an ambulance to arrive, knowledge of first aid can be absolutely critical. Immediate initiation of CPR for example can double or even quadruple survival from cardiac arrest.
“But the sad reality is that in Britain the knowledge of first aid is patchy. Through no fault of their own, people do not feel confident enough to intervene and provide first aid in crash and accident situations.”