Motoring News, road safety

Time for a new driving licence test?

KEY TO SAFER DRIVING: There's a move afoot in Britain for a whole new driving qualification. Image: GEM/Newspress
KEY TO SAFER DRIVING: There’s a move afoot in Britain for a whole new driving qualification. Image: GEM/Newspress

LONDON, England -The UK driving test is no longer fit for purpose and should be replaced by a graduated licensing system.

That’s the opinion of more than 90% of already licensed drivers after a recent survey by road safety and breakdown specialist GEM Motoring Assist’s road-safety officer Neil Worth believes a graduated driver licensing (GDL) instead would add anall-important intermediate element between learner and full licence-holder.

The idea is to allow new drivers to build their skill and experience over time and through clearly-marked stages.

The Corner believes it is a good idea and that it could be used here in South Africa to ensure that our young drivers are safer on the roads.


Worth added: “Where versions of GDL are already in place, the reduction in young and novice driver collisions has been remarkable. For example, research shows that 16-year-old drivers in the USA who learned through the GDL systems 15 years ago had 37% fewer crashes than those who followed other systems.

“In New Zealand injuries from road traffic collisions fell by almost 25% for 15- to 19-year olds.”

GEM, along with many road safety organisations, public health bodies and research institutes in the UK, believes a “graduated” driving licence system should be implemented across the UK, and should include:

  • A minimum learning period of 12 months before taking a practical test
  • Drivers should hold ‘novice’ status for two years after passing that test
  • A ban on novice drivers carrying passengers younger than 25
  • A night-driving curfew, unless going to or from work
  • Automatic disqualification for any driving offence.

Worth concluded: “GEM members are holding the (UK) government to account for failing to prioritise young drivers’ safety and for wasting lives and money. We believe the GDL, if it goes hand in hand with improvements to pubic transport across Britain, could form a key part of a safer and more sustainable transport future for everybody.”

1072 GEM members completed the survey during December 2016 and January 2017.

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