AGENCY News Release issued by The Government News Network on 14
Agency national consultation gets underway
Formula One Racing star David Coulthard is waving farewell to the
fast lane and encouraging young drivers to share their ideas on
how we can produce better, safer drivers.
He is backing the government's campaign and four month
nation-wide consultation tour in a bid to collect public thoughts
on how to overhaul driver testing and training and make
Britain's roads safer.
David may be retiring, but he urges those starting out on their
driving career to have their views heard on proposals for improved
driver training and testing. Although the number of people killed
in road accidents fell by seven per cent between 2006 and 2007 it
still remains that 30,720 people were killed or seriously injured
on our roads. David said: "One in five deaths on British
roads involves newly-qualified drivers. I was appalled to hear
that the statistics are so high. I know how much young people
enjoy the freedom that driving brings, but it is also a huge
responsibility that must be taken seriously.
"Changing the way that people are taught to drive, and
making the test more real, can only be of benefit. The Government
has set out proposals to change this system - and now it's up
to you to have your say. We all use our roads in one way or
another so it is important you register your view before the
Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly launched proposals on May 7 for
updating and improving the learning to drive and testing process.
She is keen to look at the way drivers are trained and tested
with the objective of ensuring newly-qualified drivers possess the
safety skills needed to drive on Britain's busy roads.
During the consultation the DSA aims to gather opinions on a
range of proposals, including;
* Changes to the theory test
* Making the practical test more realistic
* Providing a pre driver qualification in road safety
* Introducing a student workbook
* Providing more information to help choose a driving instructor
and find out where the nearest event to you will take place.
Remaining venues are Manchester July 15, Brighton July 21,
Cardiff July 25, Newcastle July 29, Croydon August 12, Glasgow
August 19, Inverness, August 28 and Exeter September 2.
You can also share your views online
Transport secretary Ruth Kelly announced proposals for a
consultation to reform the way people learn to drive and how they
are tested on May 7.
The aim of the four-month consultation period is to gather views
of motorists and learners with the aim of strengthening future
learning and testing procedures. The outline proposals were formed
following extensive discussions with young people, employers,
driving instructors and the insurance industry. The Department for
Transport announced plans in February 2007 to consult on
fundamental reform of driver training and testing as part of the
second review of its road safety strategy1.
The review promised a new framework for driver education,
training, testing and lifelong learning, including developing and
refreshing skills, remedial training, work-related driving and
support for drivers at various stages of their driving career to
develop and maintain safe driving for life.
Key facts about learning to drive (all for Great Britain)
* Two million people take a car driving test every year.
* The pass rate is 44%, so the average learner takes more than
two tests before passing.
* 750,000 people qualify for a license every year - three
quarters of these are under the age of 25.
* Current average cost of a lesson is approximately £21 - up to
£28 in London.
* The average learner has 52 hours of lessons and spends £1,500
learning to drive.
* Current fees for the driving test (for a car) are £30 for the
theory test (which includes the hazard perception test); £56.50
for the practical test (£67 if you want an evening or weekend).
* A newly qualified male driver faces an insurance premium from
£1,200; and a female driver of same age faces a premium from £800.
* The current car driving test is in two parts -
* The theory test - a multiple-choice answer knowledge assessment
(since 1996); and a computer screen-based hazard perception test
* The practical test - of general driving on the road and
standard maneuvers (the three-point turn, reversing round a
corner, and emergency stop): this part of the test also includes
an eye sight test, and a 'show me-tell me' test of
knowledge of the car (since 2003)
Main points in reform proposals
The Department proposes to reform the way people learn to drive,
and the way they are tested. This means:
* a driving test that gives a more realistic and rounded
assessment of whether someone is fit to drive alone;
* more focused and efficient learning, with greater clarity about
what is required, so learners should not face any increase in costs;
* better training and testing of driving instructors and better
information for the public on instructors' qualifications and performance
* a wider range of opportunities for drivers to acquire skills
and demonstrate that they have done so, both before and after they
qualify, creating a culture of lifelong learning and driver development.
Safer and better newly-qualified drivers will see as a result:
* lower numbers of accidents;
* higher levels of learner satisfaction;
* more opportunities and greater incentives for post-test
learning, with this becoming increasingly common;
* higher levels of employer confidence in the driving test and
* lower insurance costs for drivers who have taken advantage of a
wider range of learning options, both pre and post test, to
improve their competence.
* Consultation on the proposals runs for 16 weeks up to 8 September.
* Some trialing for new elements in the test is already in
progress, and work is advanced on the new syllabus.
* No changes will be made to the test until they may be assessed;
and there will be a full programme of evaluation thereafter.
* The Driving Standards Agency plan that young people will be
able to start studying for a foundation qualification in safe road
use from Autumn 2008. Other pieces of the programme - such as
changes to the driving tests - could be in place within two or
Proposals for changing the test
* The theory test will be updated to test understanding of safe
driving, and include case studies.
* The hazard perception test will be reformed to encourage
learners to take it when they have some on-road experience. The
use of 3D animation clips instead of film is being considered.
* The practical test will be changed by introducing independent
driving when the candidate finds the route and 'situational
judgement' when the candidate is asked to explain what they
did in a situation and why.
* The Driving Standards Agency is looking at splitting the theory
and practical tests into modules, to enable learners to pass
elements of the test as they learn. Re-takes could also be done in
the same way.
* Candidates will be offered better feedback at all stages of the
test, whether successful or not.
* The Driving Standards Agency is also exploring a new marking
system for the practical test to make it more effective and consistent.
Improved learning and better information
* The Driving Standards Agency will -
- publish a new syllabus for safe driving;
- produce a work book for learners to encourage driving
experience in bad weather, at night etc.
- introduce a star rating system for driving instructors.
Learners will be able to use a website to get straightforward
information about the quality of driving instructors - for
example, trainee pass rates; training taken by instructors and the
number of candidates an instructor has taken to test.
- review the programme for driving instructor training and to
focus on those areas of driving behaviour and performance that
have the closest link to safe driving.
Additional learning and qualifications
* The Driving Standards Agency is developing a certificate on
safe road use for young people from age 14 to 16. A pilot is being
worked up with Scottish Qualifications Authority, potentially
available from the 2008/09 academic year.
* The certificate on safe road use will cover the Highway Code,
planning journeys, social attitude, peer pressure, fatigue, being
safe on road, eco-driving. The aim is to make it an optional
course available from age 14.
* The Driving Standards Agency is developing a non-compulsory
Attitude Advisor - a computer-based self-evaluation aid that helps
make learners aware of their attitude towards risk and safety.
Learners are asked to respond to questions about their reaction to
different situations, allowing the programme to build up a profile
of their overall attitude which can be used by the learner and
instructor to improve their driving.
* The Pass Plus scheme will be reviewed to create safer drivers
and improve take-up (11% take up Pass Plus each year)
* The Driving Standards Agency is working with organisations
providing advanced training on a consistent standard for all
* Additional, vocational qualifications will be developed jointly
with employers for people who want to drive for work e.g. covering
loading, unloading, driving a van and customer service. These will
be offered through awarding bodies rather like an NVQ.
* New standards for post-test and driving for work training will
be developed with employers and insurers.
Better information about driving instructors and improved
* The Driving Standards Agency will introduce a star rating
system so that learners will be able to access straightforward
information about the quality of driving instructors: this will
include customers' pass rates, and the training instructors
have received - as well as the instructor's grade;
* The Driving Standards Agency are already working with
instructors' organisations to review the way driving
instructors are trained and tested, before they qualify and after
they are registered.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is an executive agency * of
the Department for Transport.
2. The DSA's vision is "Safe Driving for Life"
with an overall mission to contribute towards a Government target
of achieving a 40% reduction in riders and drivers killed or
seriously injured in road accidents, in the age group up to 24
years, by 2010.
3. Current information on road casualties is available from the
Department for Transport website: http://www.dft.gov.uk
4. The Agency's aim is to promote road safety through
setting standards for drivers, riders and trainers, testing
drivers and riders fairly and efficiently, maintaining the
registers of Approved Driving Instructors; Large Goods Vehicle
Instructors; Fleet Trainers; Driving Instructor Trainers and Post
Test Motorcycle Trainers; supervising Compulsory Basic Training
(CBT) for learner motorcyclists; and driver education and the
provision of learning resources.
5. DSA is a trading fund * with an expected turnover of around
£199 million for the year 2008/9, fully funded by fee income and
revenue from its activities.
6. DSA employs over 2,700 staff, of which some 2,000 are driving
examiners based at over 400 test centres across mainland Great
Britain. In 2007/2008 the Agency conducted 1.8 million practical
tests for car drivers, over 95,000 vocational tests and 94,000
motorcycle rider tests. A total of 1.7 million theory tests were
carried out at 158 centres. At the end of the year there were
around 43,600 people on the Register of Approved Driving Instructors.
7. DSA was one of the first Government Agencies to introduce an
online booking service. Candidates can book and manage their
theory and practical test appointments on line at http://www.direct.gov.uk/drivingtest
8. Killed and Seriously Injured casualties Scotland, by council, 2006:
* Highland - 177
* Eilean Sar - 8
* Orkney - 11
Shetland - 12
* Aberdeen City - 61
* Aberdeenshire -
* Moray - 47
* Dundee City - 83
* Angus - 90
Perth + Kinross - 149
* Fife - 208
* Edinburgh, City of -
* West Lothian - 95
* Midlothian - 48
Lothian - 42
* Scottish Borders - 89
* Clackmannanshire -
* Stirling - 74
* Falkirk - 66
* Glasgow City -
* Argyll + Bute - 101
* West Dunbartonshire - 47
East Dunbartonshire - 28
* Inverclyde - 39
* East Renfrewshire - 36
* North Lanarkshire -
* South Lanarkshire - 136
* North Ayrshire - 65
East Ayrshire - 60
* South Ayrshire - 60
* Dumfries +
Galloway - 170
Total Scotland - 2,939
* Executive agency:
An executive agency is semi-detached from its parent department
and manages its own budget with freedom from ad hoc, day to day
intervention and much of central, government-wide regulation. They
are run under the organisation and direction of a Chief Executive
recruited through open competition. An executive agency has
accountability for the performance of specific operational tasks
as a corporate unit, including focused performance targets set by
the parent department and personal accountability of the chief
executive for performance.
* Trading Fund:
A trading fund is a means of financing trading activities
undertaken by Government that would previously have been financed
by annual appropriation from Parliament. A trading fund permits
the establishment of a self-accounting unit that remains under the
control and management of Ministers and accountable to Parliament
through Ministers, but has greater freedom to manage its financial
affairs. Effectively that means the trading fund body can use its
income to settle its liabilities and retain year-end cash
balances. Establishing the trading fund does not alter the
Agency's constitutional position and it remains part of the
Department for Transport.