New driving test

falls short of mark

Car with L plate

A NEW era has dawned in the world of driving instruction but at least one road safety body feels that it has not gone far enough.

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist says the new driving test regim which has just come into force, represents a missed opportunity for making the roads safer.

Although GEM welcomes the longer period of independent driving, the organisation's road safety officer Neil Worth believes a big step forward in road safety has been missed by the exclusion of any reference to driver behaviour, driving manners or coping strategies for stressful journeys.

"Just about anyone can learn to parallel park or follow a satnav," says Mr Worth.. "We believe a key component to a lifetime of safe driving is attitude, and in particular how to treat fellow road users.

"Drivers who implement GEM's core values of courtesy, care and concentration on all their journeys are almost certain to experience reduced stress levels and fewer road rage incidents, meaning an altogether safer road environment.

"We are disappointed that nothing has been brought into the new test that covers this vital area of road safety."

A fine and worthy view of what could have been done but implementing such a strategy is not quite so easy. It is all well and good to instruct a new driver in such matters but getting them to remember it after 10 years or so at the wheel is more difficult.

Good manners on the road is something that used to be taken for granted but these days the use of the horn as a trumpet of aggression and challenge allied with the onset of beating the steering wheel plus free use of expletives has taken a grim lead.

There used to be council run road safety departments which did an excellent job in championing courteous driving, but the shadow of austerity wiped many of them out. Maybe it is time they returned.

The new additions to the driving test and involve making the independent driving segment longer, changes in the manoeuvres and the introduction of using a sat nav.

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