Driving test not fit for purpose, say IAM

Tuesday, April 22, 2014 - 15:40
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UNFIT: Is UK’s driving test tough enough?

Two in three young drivers believe they need to improve their skillset, research by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has revealed.

A sizeable 68% of 18-25-year-olds admit they feel they are not good enough drivers, while 30% admit to breaking the law during their first few years on the road.

Twenty-five per cent of young drivers also admit they have crashed.

Simon Best, Chief Executive of the IAM, said:  “This survey shows that younger drivers simply 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.”


  1. Obviously the driving test shouldn’t be the end of the road, in any sense. The Australian system requires 120 hours of logged accompanied driving with stern penalties for fiddling the book. Professional tuition mandatory and maximum one passenger for first year after passing. Engine power limited (as we do with bikes). The court removing licence at six points in first two years not used nearly often enough and as it is technically not a disqualification but revocation of licence, the insurers need never know.

    There is plenty we could do now.

  2. I’m a driving instructor. The test is limited in what it can achieve,
    The problem is, all parents want to do is get their child through the test as quickly and cheaply as possible. They all nod heads about me teaching the kid to be a safe driver, not just pass the test, then ten lessons later are asking when they will be test ready!
    Many of the bad attitudes to driving safety they get from parents, 17 years of watching substandard driving and attitude to others and I am expected to fix it in around 40 hours!
    Add in the problem that physiologically their brains have not developed the ability to risk asses effectively, nor will it until into their twenties.
    Unless a government is prepared to become very unpopular by mandating only professional instruction, putting a minimum limit of 60 hours on it, raising the driving age to 20, and providing the enforcement of effective traffic policing, then the IAM might as well just go and bash it’s collective head againstnthenwall.

  3. Like most education these days, the goal is not so much about developing a fully honed skillset. It is, first of all, about passing the exam. Once that’s done, how many of us even consider spending either the time of money on becoming better, safer drivers? The fact is, we all go on to develop bad driving habits and this continues totally unchecked unless you are lucky enough to get caught for speeding or careless driving. Then you might be offered the opportunity to take part in a basic safety course. Periodic retesting should be mandatory. I would welcome that.

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