The experiment was designed to see if the UK’s driving test, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, still meets its objective in allowing only the most competent drivers onto the road.
12 experienced drivers undertook a mini-driving test and IAM’s qualified assessors passed just 50% of participants. Insufficient use mirrors, speeding and underuse of signals were among the errors picked up by the IAM’s assessors.
Auto Express calculates that 46 million people have taken the driving test since it was introduced in 1935. At the outset the pass rate was 63%, but today it has fallen to 47%. The volume of vehicles has risen sharply over the years and currently there are 35 million cars registered for use on UK roads.
IAM, says that six of the seven drivers who had undergone advanced driver training passed the test, while of the five who had no advanced tuition, just one passed.
Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief of Auto Express, said: “Driving standards has always been a hot topic and the result of our tests shows that too many people just aren’t as good at driving as they think they are.
“Although technology is making driving safer than ever, the attitude and ability of the person behind the wheel is the most important element. We always encourage people to take pride in their driving and take additional training if necessary.”
Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, added: “The results of our joint experiment were very interesting. It shows that keeping your skills topped up and knowledge of the Highway Code current is crucial in making safer drivers and riders.
“Road skills cannot be allowed to lapse. Keeping your skills current through advanced tuition and other proven methods can only be a benefit to everyone who uses our roads.”