Minister calls for driving tests to have a distinction grade to improve road safety


Learner Drivers

A Tory minister has suggested that the traditional 'pass or fail' driving test distinction should be replaced with a system that gives new drivers a higher level to aspire to.

Skills minster Matthew Hancock claims that it is wrong that new drivers can merely pass or fail and feels that a test should mark drivers on their individual skill level – which in turn will make roads safer and allow insurance companies to offer cheaper premiums to better drivers.

The call has come after the government said it was considering raising the driving age to 18 in an attempt to curb fatalities among young drivers.

New drivers can already get a steer as to how good they are behind the wheel thanks to a report card that is issued at the end of each test.

Both major and minor faults are recorded and up to 15 of the latter faults are permitted before a learner fails a test.

The Daily Mail reported that sources at the Department for Business and Skills said that Mr Hancock's proposition was not official Government policy but it was an idea he was personally in favour of.

Mr Hancock said at a car factory in Oxford recently: "People say the driving test is just pass or fail. But actually if we had a distinction on the driving test, maybe those people could get lower premiums and be safer drivers."

According to the Mail Online, he is particularly close to Chancellor George Osborne, meaning his thoughts are discussed at the highest levels.

The suggestions could be added to a package of changes that aim to reduce accidents among young people and also include bans on learner drivers carrying passengers for a 12-month probation period.