Driving test must remain key to safer roads

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 by GEM Motoring Assist

ROAD SAFETY organisation GEM Motoring Assist says the driving test must continue to play a major part in ensuring the UK’s roads are among the safest in the world. The call comes as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency announces a trial of a revised driving test at 20 centres across the UK from April.

GEM chief executive David Williams, said: “Although the driving test has recently come under scrutiny for perhaps not being tough enough, particularly when more than a fifth of deaths on British roads involve drivers aged 17-24, the fact remains that the UK driving test is still regarded by most international road safety professionals as probably the most difficult, comprehensive and successful of its kind in the world.

“Whether the latest revisions are enough, or too much, it’s important that the system continues to look for sensible evolutions that represent modern driving.”

In the new trial test, candidates will have to follow a guided route using pre-set satnav directions. The three-point turn and reversing around a corner would disappear, and be replaced with more commonplace manoeuvres such as reversing out of a parking bay.

They will also be required to answer safety questions while on the move, instead of at the start of the test.

Around the world

GEM has been taking a look at what’s required to gain a driver’s licence in other countries:

• In Brazil, you have to pass a psychological exam before obtaining a licence.  Learners are also taught techniques for escaping from potentially life-threatening situations.
• Spain’s Highway Code is believed to be Europe’s most in-depth driving rule book, with three times as many rules as in the UK. However, the practical driving test is described as a ‘group excursion’. Spain has one of the highest road mortality rates in Europe.
• In China, you may be asked to explain to your examiner what to do if your car plunges into water.
• In Pakistan, the practical test involves one simple task: driving through a short course of cones. There is an 80% pass rate.
• Mexico has no test. Simply buy a licence for 626 pesos (£28).
• In Japan, you can fail your test if you do not bend low enough to check the underside of your car for concealed cats.
• Legislation introduced in Russia at the beginning of this year means transsexual and transgender people, fetishists, exhibitionists and voyeurs, as well as pathological gamblers and compulsive thieves no longer qualify for driving licences.