New drivers need training before tackling M-ways says expert instructor
A driving industry expert has said that newly qualified drivers must be kept from fast roads until they get enough experience under their belts.
Mike Light, chairman of the Gloucestershire branch of the Driving Instructors’ Association said the cost of driving lessons and insurance for young drivers often put them off taking further training after they pass their driving test.
Newly qualified drivers can drive on motorways as soon as they pass their tests, even though they have no experience of doing so.
Mr Light, who has been a driving instructor for more than 20 years said there had to be a change in legislation so that newly qualified drivers are more confident on the roads.
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He was speaking in the week we launched our RIP 479 campaign, to raise awareness of the number of drivers killed on the roads of Gloucestershire. A shocking 25 per cent of the dead were aged between 17 and 24.
AA figures show that one in every five young drivers has a crash during the first year after passing their driving test, with young drivers 10 times more likely to be involved in a serious collision than more experienced ones.
There have been more drivers killed between the Millennium and 2012 than British combat troops in Afghanistan.
Mr Light said: “They need training for motorways. The biggest number of accidents for young people are single vehicle accidents.
“Driving lessons aren’t cheap and they want to pass their test as soon as possible and be off.
“It’s not necessarily that young people are speeding, it’s that they may be going too fast for the road circumstances.
“Their spatial awareness is not brilliant.They try and get through gaps that they can’t get through.”
Mr Light said there was a particular problem on the roads of the Cotswolds, because of their rural nature and because younger drivers would have to drive further to access leisure facilities.
“In the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean the youngsters have to drive to get anywhere so there could be a problem there because they are driving more,” he said.
“Driving is a must for people now, if they want to work.
“Sometimes the more confident they are the more risks they take.
“We know that if someone fails their first driving test, they are a safer driver later on. It’s because they have had more training.”
The Driving Standards Agency recommends that learners should have a minimum of 40 hours tuition with a professional instructor, and an additional 20 hours accompanied practice (i.e.with a parent).
Mr Light added that driving was a lifelong pursuit which required regular updates of skill and knowledge.
A spokesman for the Driving Instructors’ Association said: “Learners and parents have a huge responsibility for tackling road safety issues themselves.
“The solution lies in encouraging more learners to take more responsibility for their learning in the first instance by ensuring they gain the necessary skills and knowledge to drive independently and safely when they hit our roads for the first time.”