Passing your driving test and gaining the freedom of being able to go anywhere at any time is one of the greatest feelings for young people in the UK. But should we be looking at shaking up the current driving test system in favour of one where it is compulsory to complete a certain amount of hours driving or with tougher restrictions?
Earlier this year the Government put plans on hold that would drastically change the way driving test are carried out. At the moment, in order to pass the test, learner drivers must complete two parts, a theory based exam and a practical assessment. Learners do so in their own time and there are no legal requirements for how long they must spend behind the wheel before they can take the practical assessment.
The UK Government were considering plans to change this and look at rules to introduce a set amount of time drivers must be behind the wheel for before they are eligible to take a test. They would then be issued with a new probationary license for the first 12 which would have restrictions placed upon it including a curfew between 10 pm and 5 am unless someone over 30 was in the car.
Road safety campaigners had backed the new plans after statistics were released showing that one in six crashes involve a teenage motorist despite the fact that they make of only 1.5% of the total UK drivers. The Government however decided to put the plans on hold for the time being in order to rethink the changes and make sure they would work.
Are Young Drivers Really That Dangerous?
Many young drivers have been opposed to the new rules saying that it would be too restrictive and wouldn’t be workable although television programmes such as the BBC’s Barely Legal Drivers don’t help. The programme follows young drivers who have just passed their driving test and assess whether they would be considered a good driver and be rewarded with a car. If they are deemed to be unsafe then they are informed that they have to take further lessons.
Although this programme is just a snippet of how some young people drive it is worth pointing out that this is by no means representative of all young drivers as a whole. There are more young drivers out there who do drive safely on the roads although I’m not sure whether this less interesting would pass as ‘entertainment’.
So What Should Be Done?
So while it seems like it might be back to the drawing board for the plans to change the driving test to help produce better quality drivers there are things that you can do to help your road education.
Driving schools such as learn drive offer the chance for refresher courses where people of all ages can book sessions to help freshen up their knowledge if they haven’t been behind the wheel for a while. There is also the option of fitting a black box to your car which can track when and where you are driving with the added benefit that good drivers can see a reduction in their insurance premium, and finally there is the pass plus test which is designed to increase your ability to drive safely.
Car’s need to be roadworthy and regular checks will ensure that young people are driving safe cars. It can be easy to forget dates and there are sites that will check MOT expiry dates to ensure that you don’t miss a vital and legal check.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.