Public support for mandatory driver re-testing grows

Monday, January 28, 2019 - 08:41
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Public support for regular mandatory driver re-testing shot up in the days following the Duke of Edinburgh’s recent car crash, new research shows.

Drivers themselves are backing a change in the law, which would force every motorist to retake their test, either at set intervals or in old age, in order to keep their licence.

Two in three motorists now support the idea of compulsory driving re-tests. A majority suggest that they should take place once licence-holders are 70 or over, according to new survey results.

The policy has been growing in favour for some time, with just over half of drivers backing re-tests in the first half of January, but support surged after 97-year-old Prince Philip’s Land Rover crashed into another car and overturned.

The findings emerged in research by the online motor retail specialist, BuyaCar.co.uk, which began canvassing opinion on mandatory re-testing before the incident.

The sudden marked shift in public opinion also revealed a belief that it’s not just elderly drivers who could benefit: three in five respondents thought that every motorist should be tested every ten years – a higher proportion than before the crash.

However, a majority believed that this should be linked to age, with opinion fairly evenly split on a range of options between the ages of 70 and 90.

The survey asked 400 people ‘Do you think that drivers should have to re-take their driving test?’ and – if so – when?

Before the Royal crash a small majority of 53% said drivers should be re-tested. Since the crash, this increased to 66%.

In both cases, the most common timescale suggested was every ten years, but a majority of drivers believe that it should be linked to age.

No drivers thought that re-tests should be mandatory on retirement, but there was support for re-examination of 70-year-olds from 7.5%. Re-testing 75-year-olds was backed by 15% and 10% were in favour of testing at 80. There were 12.5% of respondents who believed testing should only happen at 85, and 10% who would stretch that to age 90.

Austin Collins, Managing Director of BuyaCar.co.uk, said: “We began gauging public opinion on this issue before the Duke of Edinburgh’s accident, which means we saw ‘in real time’ how the controversy affected public opinion on the question.

“Our findings suggest that policy makers could come under pressure now, from public opinion, to revisit the idea of routinely re-testing drivers. And that could mean the Duke of Edinburgh’s accident ultimately leading to an improvement in road safety.”

“Some might find it surprising that a majority of drivers are supporting a policy that would eventually see them re-tested, but some earlier research might help to explain: we found that 64% of motorists thought that their driving was better than average, so they are unlikely to be worried about the prospect of taking another driving test.”

3 Comments

  1. I am amazed that the cause of the accidents missed . The other driver could not have been paying attention to the road ahead .Had the driver been given full attention to the road ahead and with the sun behind it should be possible for a competent driver to observe an approaching road junctions there may even be sings indicating this and to prepare for a vehicle. to enter the main. road by adjusting the speed .How fast the car must have been going to roll a Landrover but well over the speed limit no doubt is coupled with the possibiltity of texting, amusing a child or just a conversation and the opportunity to avoid a collision is lost. .After an accident it is normal to blame everybody but the person with a clear view and not driving with road awareness.

  2. It is not surprising that there has been an surge in the number of drivers backing re-tests following Prince Philip’s recent accident.
    However, according to recently published government figures, it is young drivers that are at the highest risk of being involved in and causing car accidents. Although drivers aged 17-19 only make up 1.5% of UK license holders; they are involved in 9% of fatal crashes where they are the driver – and altogether, drivers under the age of 25 cause 85% of all ‘serious injury’ accidents. It is clear to see from data released by Gov.uk last year, that drivers aged 20–29 pose the most risk on our roads. With dramatically higher figures than any other age group, drivers in their twenties were last year involved in 20,841 road incidents of all severities – considerably higher than any other age group and drastically greater than road incidents of all severities involving drivers aged 70–79 (3,254) and road incidents involving drivers aged 80 and over (1,939). There is a higher percentage of casualties in accidents involving drivers under 30 age groups than any other age group.
    Is it not therefore reasonable to assume that if new drivers, particularly young new drivers, pose the most risk, they should be retested at more regular intervals. By doing so the government could instil safer driving habits in relatively new motorists.
    Of course older motorists should also have their capabilities assessed at regular intervals. A simple medical examination will reveal a deterioration in their faculties, especially with regard to sight, hearing and reaction times. Tests such as these would be a good measure of fitness to drive and an indicator of the necessity for them to require retesting.

  3. I note that 400 people must be a VERY representative selection I don’t think!

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