What has happened to driving standards in the UK!, now I’ll admit I’m old and probably going a bit senile but I’ve been driving cars and riding bikes on the road and on tracks for over 40 years and I just cannot believe how bad driving standards have become. Government big wigs and Whitehall mandarins and to some extent the BBC constantly bombard us with statistics of how much better our driving standards are compared to other European countries, what a load of cobblers. Anybody can manipulate statistics to prove their argument, it all depends on the question you ask or what bit of data you use. If, like me, you travel around Europe and Scandinavia a lot it soon becomes clear that they are more courteous, more disciplined and better trained than the majority of UK drivers. Contentious comments? I hope so, Gareth Llewellin of Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Chris Grayling and Whitehall mandarins take note, you collectively are causing more accidents and fatalities on UK roads by not ensuring adequate, up to date driving standards! Let me elaborate, some years ago statistics showed that a large no of young motorcyclists were being injured or killed shortly after getting a full bike licence. The government and DSA at the time decided to introduce a multi stage motorcycle licence, ie CBT A1 and A2 limiting capacity and power to exam passed and age, this unbelievably for a government idea worked, reduced accidents and fatalities for the younger riders.
However it also had the effect of reducing motorcycle usage nationally because the costs including training of obtaining a full bike licence became so great, five times greater than a car training and test that most people chose to take their car test instead.
Now we’ve got rid of the bike problem let’s look at the current problem with car driving standards, a 17 year old can quite inexpensively take some lessons and pass their driving test, providing they can actually drive the car, after all the modern driving test is so easy my 14 year old daughter passed it unofficially, first time on a special off public road course by a current DVSA examiner. So so easy! Now back to our 17 year old who now has a full licence, they can go out and drive anything from a Skoda to a Buggati, no power restriction, no size restriction, no performance restriction, they can even go onto a motorway having never done so before, on their own, and frighten themselves and others because of their lack of experience.
Why are we putting our young drivers at such risk, why? Chris Grayling the minister responsible does not give a damn he’ll be gone in five years, Gareth Llewellin don’t care, he will be promoted to another department within a few years and the mandarins, well, they hide in the shadows, so you won’t find them. If we could reduce driver accidents for the under 23 year olds by half we would save the NHS enough money to fund proper health care for the elderly and save so many families from the pain and suffering experienced when one of them is injured or killed.
We need action now, similar what happened to bike tests and licences, we need a multi stage car driving test with age and power/performance restrictions, with a driving test at each stage and increase in age.
Even more controversially why, when we have passed our driving test do we not have to take another test for the rest of our driving life! What other profession do you take an exam at the start of your carer and never get tested again? Road conditions, signage, rules and markings change every decade why do we not have to take a retest to ensure that we are up to standard.
Every driver and rider should be retested every ten years, not a full test but a shortened updated current competency test.