IAM asks: is the driving test fit for purpose?

12.00 | 22 April 2014 | | 4 comments

A new survey carried out on behalf of the IAM suggests that, despite learning to pass the test, 68% of younger drivers feel that they need to improve their driving skills.

In the survey of 1,000 young drivers aged 18-25 years, 30% of respondents admitted to “breaking the law” during their first few years on the road.

The IAM says the poll’s findings are “backed by official figures” which show that a fifth of people killed or seriously injured in a reported road accident in Great Britain during 2012 were involved in a collision where at least one of the cars was driven by a young driver. In addition, 133 of the 542 drivers who died in 2012 were young drivers themselves.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “This survey shows that younger drivers don’t feel adequately prepared for independent driving. The current learning system is failing the next generation of motorists and there needs to be serious review.

“Early experience of a wide range of traffic conditions is vital but so is dealing with negative attitudes. This can be done most effectively through peer group discussions rather than just relying on stricter controls and curfews.”

The measures the IAM is putting forward to improve young driver safety include: road safety as part of the school curriculum; theory and hazard perception tests be delivered online and in educational establishments; a 12-month minimum learning period with a logbook to build experience; and post-test assessment and training in the high risk early months of solo driving.


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    How many of them make this point before they take their test? As an ADI it is often hard enough to get them to have enough lessons to be confident to pass, let alone further training.

    Doug Moseley
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    Graduated driver learning has been put before government for many years by me and many others to my knowledge, and HMG are doing little to address it as it doesn’t win votes. People will say one thing on paper surveys but when it comes to putting money where their spoken word is, we have another story.

    Barry Kenward – Fareham – Hampshire
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    Our understanding of the immature brain needs improving before we can hope to work out whether or not the driving test is fit for purpose.

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    I think pre 17 practical and theory training is vital to improving driving standards. Influencing attitudes to being on the road from an early age in educational establishments is key to making our roads safer for all road users. Compulsory post-test training is also an area that needs addressing.

    Karen Smith (Young Driver UK)
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