Motoring group calls for driving test reforms

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This year is the 80th birthday of the official driving test, but instead of a cake, one motoring group is demanding that this milestone be celebrated with a raft of reforms, aimed at saving hundreds of young drivers' lives.

According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), the driving test needs urgent changes to reduce the number of young people being killed or injured on our roads each year. In 2013, 191 people under the age of 24 were killed, and a further 20,003 injured while behind the wheel.

While the overall number of young people being killed is in decline, the IAM believes the number is unacceptably high, and is calling for urgent changes to the way licences are granted.

While changes have been made to the test, most recently in 2002 when the hazard perception element of the theory test was added, a number of other factors such as driving on country roads, in poor weather and at night, are still not covered.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: "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."

The IAM wants to see driving tuition added to the national curriculum, and supports a minimum learning period in which candidates would experience high-speed roads and other situations currently not covered in the test. It also wants to see restrictions on the number of passengers newly qualified drivers can carry, along with a lower drink-drive limit.

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