New Graduated Licence Proposals – A different “School” of Thought

Yes, we need to do something to improve accident statistics for 18 – 24 year olds behind the wheel. In my opinion there is no question the current system exposes young and new drivers – and others using the road -  to extreme danger. Given  that drivers in the above age group account for only one twentieth of all driving miles  U.K. wide, however are involved in one fifth of fatal or serious driving accidents, you don’t need a degree in statistics to work out something is wrong.

Proposed measures, aimed at a graduated licence, could still see learners begining driving lessons at 17, however they would be required to reach 18 before gaining a licence.

During the learning process one hundred hours of supervised driving and at least twenty hours of night driving. Additional restrictions such as a night curfew, and not being allowed to carry passengers are being mooted.

Practice Makes Perfect

Surely there can be no doubt that practice improves performance? As long as driver training remains a financial consideration i fear the public will still look for the cheapest way possible to gain a licence. Cheap is not always good. Look at the take up for the Pass Plus scheme. Less than 1.5% of newly qualified drivers take this course – despite never having previously driven on a motorway.
Instructors explain the merits of post test training and pupils (or parents) decline the opportunity in droves. Maybe they feel having passed  the new driver can be further trained by parents, or maybe they think they will just “go in at the deep end.” Whatever, the public rejection of driver training other than the bare neccessities needed to pass a test, must surely contribute to the aforementioned casualty rate.

 National curriculum for Schools

Personally, i am a huge advocate for bringing driver training into the shool curriculum. For one, it would remove the “budget licence” mentalliity that persists currently. Learners can get there in their own time. They can enter a group learning environment where experiences can be shared. They can be given more thorough attitude training and psycometric testing. They can leave school with an increasingly essential credential for the job market. How many jobs now state “driving licence essential”?

Education Rather Than Restriction and Regulation

The current proposals will no doubt be seen as restrictive by many, indeed they are just that. With an effective learning programme, fit for our current times, we may find that its also very much more cost effective. Consider the costs of policing and administrating such proposals. Would the expense not be better used to make our new drivers well educated, careful, responsible and skilled road users?