Call for learners to face 12-month minimum learning period

10.05 | 24 February 2021 | | 7 comments

A new survey suggests there is ‘overwhelming support’ for the introduction of a 12-month minimum learning period for new drivers.

Two thirds of respondents to the survey (68%), conducted by IAM RoadSmart, ‘strongly backed’ the suggestion that all learners, regardless of age, should undergo at least a year’s supervised practice before being allowed to take their practical test.

Just under two-thirds (65%) of respondents also support more post-test training, believing it would be beneficial for drivers to improve their skills.

IAM RoadSmart is calling on the Government to see the long-term safety benefits of a 12-month minimum learning period – and has once again reiterated its support for the introduction of graduated driver licencing (GDL).

GDL is a scheme which places restrictions on new drivers, such as not being able to drive at night – or not driving with passengers under a certain age in the car.

Its introduction has long been debated by the Government, who in 2019 committed to review and consult on GDL as part of its road safety action plan.

However, in October 2020, roads minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton said the Government is not progressing work on GDL.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “The Government must listen to the concerns of the vast majority of motorists who clearly understand the long-term safety benefits that a 12-month minimum learning period for all new drivers would bring.

“A lifetime of safe driving starts by gaining the right experience behind the wheel. Even the Government’s own statistics show that one in five new drivers crash within their first year on the road, so a longer learning period can only help make our roads safer for all road users.”



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    Poorly presented idea. 1.these drivers have passed a rest. Is it a shortfall in the test process. 2. Duration to gain experience is worthless, except for the likes of the presenters at IAMRoadsmart as driver trainers. It would remove the idea of intensive time at the wheel to speedway up the process. 3. A year driving around a big city or a rural area could stil not expose the driver to experiences that the other may encounter on a regular basis.

    If a manufacturer had a 20% failure rate, would they ‘blame’ the product or revisit how it was made? Perhaps the style, content and manner in which the training is done also has failings. Simply extending an inadequate training method will not improve the outcome until the training community identifies what changes needs to be implemented.

    For so many reasons, simply extending the time is not a solution – see other posts for practical examples.

    Andy, Ipswich
    Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

    If the public are prepared to pay ONLY peanuts for driving lessons they should not expect to receive high quality training in return. ”Elementary, my dear Watson!” as Sherlock would say..

    Russell Jones, UK
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I feel being restricted to driving at night and with children under a certain age is ridiculous. I’m a mum of two single and have done a years worth of learning but still waiting for my test due to lockdown, now what if I had to rush to the hospital at night with my children to save the ambulance service from coming to something that could be minor or that the reason I’ve wanted to learn to drive was to drive my children to school and take them places to see as we’ve been stuck in a rural area so can’t go many places. This is just wrong. Yeah I understand the year worth of lessons thats great idea but the rest is just not feasible.

    Kim, Exeter
    Agree (1) | Disagree (2)

    > Prevent them from driving at night or with passengers etc just delays the event

    Or even better – make it a mandatory part of the driving syllabus

    I did a couple of driving lessons in the snow and ice, having the driving instructor get me to do an emergency stop and uhm, not stopping was definitely an awakening experience as a learner

    David Weston, Newcastle upon Tyne
    Agree (2) | Disagree (1)

    Very unfair to have a minimum learning period when so many are ready for test- and after- well before a year.
    Neil Greig is out of date with his “one in five crash within year”. This was a figure from 2008 and now out of date. More recent figures state one in eleven, a big difference.
    The “vast majority” of motorists he speaks of have no idea about current training and testing and those who pass their test now are much better equipped to deal with today’s situations than thosew who9 passed years ago.
    Prevent them from driving at night or with passengers etc just delays the event

    Andy, Warwick
    Agree (3) | Disagree (3)

    Any driving instructor will tell you that most learners just want to get through their test as quickly and cheaply as possible! What are the practical issues in enforcing this learning period? The ‘vast majority of motorists’ who support this suggestion would scream blue murder if it was suggested that we all get re-tested regularly!

    Keith Wheeler, Aylesbury
    Agree (4) | Disagree (2)

    > that all learners, regardless of age, should undergo at least a year’s supervised practice before being allowed to take their practical test

    If this option were to go ahead, there would need to be provisions to allow people to have an accelerated progression through to a practical test, if the driving instructor legitimately believed that the student is of (or exceeding) the sufficient standard.

    *for transparency I passed after about 8 months of non-intensive tuition

    David Weston, Newcastle upon Tyne
    Agree (1) | Disagree (2)

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