Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New L-Test to Ensure Drivers Can Get from A to B on Their Own; Learner: Driving Examination and Tuition Is Undergoing a Major Rethink

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New L-Test to Ensure Drivers Can Get from A to B on Their Own; Learner: Driving Examination and Tuition Is Undergoing a Major Rethink

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY, DAVID WILLIAMS

THE driving test is to be radically overhauled to see how learners copewhen told to fend for themselves.

Under proposals announced today, candidates will be asked to make their own wayto a destination without being told how to get there or what to expect on theway.

The aim of the extra test is to reveal drivers who "freeze" when put in charge.Such people may pass the current test but prove unsafe because they lose theirjudgment and ability to cope when on their own.

In future they will not pass until given enough training to get from A to Bwithout instructions. The idea is part of a major rethink of driving tuitionand examination unveiled by Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly.

She wants to end the idea that driving qualification focuses on how candidatesperform in a single brief test and encourage "lifelong learning" in the art ofsafe motoring.

Two million people a year take the driving test, which has a pass rate of 44per cent. But one in five has an accident within six months of passing andseven in 10 report near-misses. Newly-qualified drivers and their passengersaccount for a fifth of car deaths.

Speaking to young drivers at the Driving Standards Agency training centre inCardington, Bedfordshire, Ms Kelly said: "New drivers are keen to gain thefreedom driving offers them. But too many are involved in accidents and are notproperly prepared for driving alone. It is time for a new approach to learningto drive. We must make sure that novice drivers are safe drivers when they havepassed their test." Other proposals include a classroom course on "saferdriving" for under 17s..

The sessions will focus on attitudes to other road users as well as key safetyskills such as hazard awareness. For novice drivers, traditional instructionwill be expanded to more complex subjects such as spotting road hazards and howto interact with other road-users. …

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