Driving test is failing young drivers

As many as 30% of young drivers (aged 18-25) admit to breaking the law during their first few years on the road, according to a poll by Vision Critical and road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).

The poll also revealed that, despite spending many weeks learning to pass the test, a majority (68%) of younger drivers feel that they need to improve. This are backed up 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.
  • Around 22% of all accidents involved at least one young driver. 
  • Nearly a quarter of all car drivers (133 out of 542 drivers) who died in 2012 were young drivers themselves.

“This survey shows that younger drivers simply don’t feel adequately prepared for independent driving,” said IAM chief executive Simon Best. “The current learning system is failing the next generation of motorists and there needs to be a 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 IAM’s objectives for younger drivers and an improved test include:

  • Road safety education as part of the school curriculum.
  • Theory and hazard perception test to be delivered online and in educational establishments.
  • Insurance companies not penalising L drivers gaining experience in the family car.
  • A 12 month minimum learning period, with a logbook to build experience safely.
  • A practical driving test that includes high speed roads.
  • Post-test assessment and training for all in the high risk early months of solo driving.

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