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Politics/Current Affairs

Driving Tests To Get Harder

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007 at 19:06 by Simon Kimber

It’s fair to say that most of us, deep down, know that if we were forced to retake our driving tests the best thing we could do before-hand would be research into bus and train timetables and perhaps dig the bike out of the shed.

But it’s not just the bad habits that we’ve all inevitably picked up.  Even in less than 10 years of driving I’ve plainly seen the scales tip.  The number of road users goes up and, just as steadily the ease and enjoyment goes down.

So with the news, from an interview with The Times, that transport minister Stephen Ladyman intends to increase the difficulty of the driving test, I can’t help but exude a touch of smugness as I look at the little plastic photo-card in my wallet.

Ladyman and his advisers have been looking into a number of ways to make it harder for future learners to tear up their L-plates.  A low-level ministerial aide who suggested Teflon L-plates has been reassigned as a council tax call centre operator, but others have come up with ideas such as a compulsory 12 months of lessons before a test can be taken, more road safety awareness training and longer practical tests.

Additionally plans are afoot to develop elements to the practical test that are more realistic and relevant to everyday driving, as well as to begin driver training, such as basic hazard awareness, as part of the school curriculum.

Personally I don’t think these plans are far reaching enough.

First of all at least 100 hours of on-road experience should be required.  Then we really need a requirement that each driver should take a separate test in each season to allow for different driving conditions.  These tests should each be at least a day long, perhaps three.  Examiners should be allowed to throw things at the student and, on the summer test, release live bees and wasps in the car for added realism.

Other drivers should be allowed to run learners off the road, a law should be introduced stating that nobody without a valid driving license should be allowed within 15 metres of anything containing petrol, diesel or a steering rack, while the test fee should be increased to £8,500 + VAT and include a written element consisting of GCSE exam papers from at least 20 years ago.

All we need then is instant bans for anyone doing less than 10% below the speed limit for no good reason - or anyone driving a BMW - and motoring might actually become fun again!

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2 Comments on “Driving Tests To Get Harder”

  1. Matt Freeman Says:

    Yes, make it harder!

    The number of people in London driving without a license, I read once, was estimated to be 1 in 5 or something. Giving the driving I have noticed, it feels like 1 in 3.

    Some more of what needs to be taught is expected rules of the road - for example, trying to do a three-point-turn in the middle of an A-road in Central London is just not on.

    My other favourite is that people seem to think that you can park anywhere, no matter how much you are blocking other people, if you’ve got your hazard lights on.

  2. John Pegg Says:

    Maybe re-testing everyone every year would be a good idea? That would certainly get a few people worried!

    Would anyone out there pass their test if they had to do it again? Probably not, which is worrying considering that the driving test is the MINIMUM test of safety we have.

    If everyone drove to the current test standard wouldn’t the roads be relaxing, unfortunately some people can’t plan their lives properly, and think they should be able to do what THEY want in their speeding tonne or two of metal.

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