Hyundai learner driverThe UK driving test ‘urgently’ needs reform if it so remain relevant for young people driving on modern roads, says road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). 

Speaking as the driving test reaches its 80th anniversary, IAM director of policy and research Neil Greig said it has “fallen behind” what’s needed to prepare young drivers for motoring today.

“The driving test needs to become a much more integrated part of a graduated licensing system that picks up on best practice from around the world.

“For instance, Austria has a ‘second phase’ licensing system, where young drivers come back in the first 12 months after the test for further interventions to examine attitude changes and skills.

“This must be addressed as a matter of urgency by the next government.”

‘Comprehensive overhaul’ needed

Road traffic accidents are the biggest killer of young people in the UK. In 2013, 191 people under the age of 24 were killed on the roads, and more than 20,000 were injured.

These figures have been falling in recent years but remain ‘unacceptable’ says the IAM.

The driving test itself is partly to blame: it does not test drivers’ ability to tackle country roads, bad weather or night-time driving. Greig also said modern technology and driver aids such as sat nav systems and mobile phones should play a part in the test.

The National Curriculum should include road safety education, limits on passengers per car for newly qualified drivers should be capped and a lower drink-drive limit introduced for new drivers, adds the IAM.