Driver training and testing reforms07 May 2008

The Royal Automobile Club Foundation welcomes these proposed reforms, which strike a good balance between supporting young people in their learning and making the test more representative of real-world driving, while rejecting strict regulations and restrictions which might discourage some from learning to drive, or encourage more to drive unlicensed.

A dangerous cocktail of inexperience, overconfidence, and a risk-taking attitude can be found behind many of the collisions amongst novice drivers. The RAC Foundation has consistently argued that education rather than legislation is the way to promote safe attitudes, and that restrictions such as curfews or passenger limits would limit the ability of young people to travel to work or education. The Foundation therefore welcomes the Government’s robust rebuttal of a restrictive post-test graduated licensing system, and the proposed introduction of a more comprehensive syllabus for learners and instructors to follow.

The RAC Foundation particularly welcomes the introduction of a Foundation-level qualification in safe road use for those under 17. We believe that a more structured approach to driver training, modelled on existing well-regarded vocational qualifications, could become a valued achievement among young people and will encourage them to continue driver training post test.

RAC Foundation Deputy Director Sheila Rainger said “Urgent action to cut the rising number of collisions involving young people on our roads is long overdue. Learning to drive can never be just about passing the test, but must be about becoming a safer driver from the first solo trip behind the wheel to the last.”


Notes to editors: “Learning to Drive,” a DfT consultation paper, was published this morning.