Newly qualified drivers are at a greater risk of accidents than more experienced drivers. This is because accidents relate more to poor attitude rather than a lack of skills. It is vital that the whole of the driving instruction industry address this.
Suggestions to tackle this include increasing the minimum driving age, not carrying passengers for a fixed period and limiting the engine size for newly qualified drivers.
Legislative changes have been rejected due to likely enforcement difficulties. However, one idea is for the instructor or person responsible for a candidate's preparation to be encouraged to accompany the candidate on the test. It is possible that this may be introduced in October 2010.
We have mixed feelings about this as it changes the weight in the car and can make candidates even more nervous. Also, it is unknown as to whether such a change would lead to a long-term change in attitude or whether it would just affect driving on the day of the test. However, the idea offers the opportunity for the accompanying individual to see how the test was carried out.
A second part of this change would be for tests to include instructions which require the candidate to follow the route towards a specific location (i.e. The Science Park, or a named village). This is to ensure that the candidate is capable of finding their route while still driving correctly. We think this will become a valuable part of the test as it will reflect driving in everyday life.