Reflecting this concern, Mike Penning MP, the Secretary of State for Transport, asked: “Are we training young drivers to pass a test or are we giving them the skills to enjoy life on the road?” This is a welcome attitude from the Transport Minister, but it would be even more warmly received if he were to make motorway training mandatory for all learners.
Going even further, it would be good to some if this new approach was applied retrospectively to all new drivers under the age of 21. Given the Department for Transport’s own figures show 82 young drivers aged 17- to 21-years old were involved in fatal collisions on motorways between 2006 and 2010, the need for a leap in improved driving standards on these roads is clear.
Another step in the direction of greatly reducing road deaths and serious injuries is to introduce ongoing driver assessment and training. This would not just be for new drivers or those under the age of 21, but for everyone. As this column has made clear before, only when a driving licence is understood to be a privilege that can be removed rather than an inalienable right will drivers begin to behave with the levels of concentration and safety needed to make death and serious injury a rarity instead of an accepted risk.