Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Road deaths and serious injuries have fallen by 33since the mid 1990s, but the casualty rate for young drivers has not changed. One in five people have an accident within six months of passing their test, and another 70% report near- misses in the same period. Alongside this newly-qualified drivers and their passengers account for one in five of all car deaths in Britain.
The aim of the consultation is to create safer drivers for life by strengthening the current learning and testing procedures, and creating a culture of extended and advanced learning. This follows extensive discussions with young people, employers, driving instructors and the insurance industry.
A foundation course in safe road use for under 17 years olds will be piloted in schools and colleges in Scotland from this Autumn. This will lead to a qualification that will be available across Great Britain.
For the first time there will be a syllabus to ensure more effective and comprehensive training is offered to learner drivers. This will set out more clearly the necessary steps to driving safely - beginning with the basics of car control, progressing to skills such as driving in difficult weather or at night and culminating in ensuring driver awareness is enhanced, to help novice drivers predict the intentions of other road users. This will help more learners to pass first time as safe and responsible drivers.
We want to create a culture in which the driving test is a milestone towards lifelong learning. Employers and insurers should have greater confidence in the driving abilities of those who have undertaken further training, and so we will work with them to develop proposals for post test courses and qualifications that produce safer drivers, and that they are prepared to reward. Examples of this could include a new advanced training qualification, a course in motorway driving or vocational qualifications such as for van drivers.