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Observer on driving test – The DSA backs down

The controversial plan for all learner drivers to be accompanied on driving test by their driving instructor from October 2010 has been partially scrapped.

learner-driver-on-testA meeting was held at DSA’s Headquarters with ADI representative organisations on 24th September 2009. At the meeting, the DSA responded to the objections raised by ADI’s and ADI organisations to the original proposal of making it mandatory for supervising drivers to accompany candidates on all driving tests.

DSA Chief Executive Rosemary Thew explained that the DSA had reflected on the points raised.  Chief Operating Manager Brian Gilhooley read out the following statement:

“The proposal that candidates should be required to take an observer with them on their practical car driving test from October 2010 has generated a great deal of debate. DSA has received comments from a variety of stakeholders and has met with the ADI Consultative Groups and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS). We have listened carefully to all the views expressed. We remain convinced that an observer sitting in on test will enhance the learning process, which, in turn, will provide road safety benefits. We recognise, however, that there are valid reasons why an approach based on education and incentivisation might be preferable to mandating through regulation at this stage.

“So this is the approach we suggest: at the start of the test, driving examiners will ask all candidates if they would like their driving instructor (or another observer, such as a parent, guardian or friend who has taught the candidate to drive) to sit in on their test. The examiner will then ask the candidate if they would like their instructor be present for the test result and debrief. This will allow candidates to take advantage of the opportunities available to support their ongoing learning and development, but will leave the final decision with them.

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18-year-olds now allowed to drive lorries

learner lorry driverFrom today (10 September 2009), 18-year-olds will be permitted to drive lorries. Until now, the minimum LGV driving age was 21, but this has been lowered across the European Union to try and encourage more young people into the haulage industry.

BBC Radio 1’s newsbeat reports the story of Adam, an 18-year-old who works for his father’s waste company.  Until now he’s been helping out, knowing that it would probably be a while before he got to drive the lorries himself. But today, he took his first lesson in an LGV.

Adam said: “I was over the moon that I could do it. It’s just better money, it’s just better everything. It means more responsibility.”

He says the lessons are hard: “They make you reverse into really tight gaps, it’s quite nerve-wracking.  You’ve got to drive around narrow streets, you feel a bit worried about what you’re doing. But it’s all good.”

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1 in 5 young drivers uninsured

Almost a quarter of a million young motorists are driving illegally because they do not have any insurance cover, according to a report released today by BBC’s Newsbeat.

uninsured-driversThey found that more than 20% of 17 to 20 year olds are not covered by a valid car insurance policy, which amounts to a staggering 243,000 illegal young drivers on our roads.

Many illegal drivers cite the huge cost of an insurance policy as being the reason for not having cover.  Yet the risks of not having a policy are huge, not just for themselves, but also for anybody they may be unfortunate enough to crash into.

The BBC reports the story of 21 year old Gary Street, who was hit by an uninsured driver at 30mph in Manchester two years ago.

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Mixed reactions to latest Drug-Driving Campaign

A £2.3m advertising campaign launched last week to warn of the risks of driving whilst under the influence of drugs has received a mixed reception from the British public and road safety experts.

The television advert warns motorists that police can spot the involuntary signs of someone being under the influence of drugs if they are stopped. These signs include severely dilated or constricted pupils.  The advert shows a car carrying several young people with their eyes enlarged, adding: “Your eyes will give you away.”

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Young men aged between 17 and 29 are thought to be most likely to drive while on illegal drugs.  Indeed, a recent survey in Scotland suggested that 81% of clubbers have driven whilst under the influence of illegal drugs.

The Department for Transport (DfT) estimates that as many as one in five drivers or motorcyclists killed in road accidents may have an impairing drug (legal or illegal) in their system.   Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said in a recent interview, “Whatever one’s views on drug taking, we’ve got to make it absolutely socially unacceptable to drive while under the influence of drugs, because it can kill.”

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New Drivers Event in Rochdale – 6th May

New Drivers event for young drivers in RochdaleRoad users are injured and die on the Borough’s roads every year.  The age group most affected is 17 to 25 year olds.

The Road Safety Unit of Rochdale’s Impact Partnership are organising a driver safety evening presented by a range of road safety experts.  The event is open to 17-25 year olds and their parents.  It takes place at Rochdale Town Hall on 6th May 2009 at 6.30pm.

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