Viscount Simon is President of the Driving Instructors Association and GEM Motoring Assist, as well as being a Vice Chairman of PACTS. He is one of the ninety hereditary peers elected to remain in the House of Lords and sits for the Labour Party.
The age group 16-29 are responsible, within their first two years of motoring, for 42% of fatalities on our roads. We shouldn’t blame them for their inadequacy. How can the system help them to be better?
The testing process in this county needs to be reformed, one which tests that learners can drive safely, not just master how to control a car and there is also a need to help drivers develop and maintain high standards for life, especially if they drive for work.. Learning has always taken place before long term retention by being able to read and research a topic with assistance from qualified individuals. The publishing of a question bank does not encourage long term retention and should, therefore, be abandoned so that candidates who wish to learn to drive study the whole syllabus and work through a series of workbooks to understand and gain long term knowledge for safer driving.
I wonder if the DSA should channel their efforts towards the assessment of driving ability and let qualified instructors certify the manoeuvres prior to a driving test thereby allowing more time on the driving test for examiners to assess driving ability.
Despite the fall in the number of road deaths most recently published we cannot be complacent because further reductions are possible and, indeed, preferable. Better learning must be part of that process of further reduction.