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Will the government make the driving test harder?

Driving instructor and pupilMPs have called on the government to make the driving test more difficult, in a bid to cut the number of accidents and reduce congestion on Britain’s roads.

A new report from the Transport Select Committee ‘Out of the jam: reducing congestion on our roads’ recommends that learners face a “more rigorous” test in order to minimise the number of collisions and help the UK road network run more smoothly.

This is the latest call for a stiffening of the driving test, following recent proposals from road-safety charity Brake. It has called on ministers to introduce a “graduated driving licence”, which would force beginners to undergo a minimum one-year training period, as well as limit the time of day at which newly qualified drivers could be on the roads.

Here at we also reported recently how quickly drivers lose their skills after passing the driving test. See what happened when our reporter – a driver for four years – took a mock driving test.

Benefits for congestion and insurance costs

While the select committee’s latest report is focused on cutting congestion, it has previously said that a more difficult driving test could help reduce car insurance costs for young people by reducing accident rates and showing policy providers that the under-21s were less of a risk.

But the MPs’ latest report criticised the government for failing to heed previous requests. It said: “We again urge the government to prioritise work on making the driving test more rigorous, in order to ensure that young drivers are better trained and safer.

“We made recommendations on this in March of this year and our predecessors also made recommendations in 2007. We are not persuaded that the government is prioritising this issue.”

Other ways to cut traffic

The select committee has made a wide range of suggestions designed to help cut delays on our roads.

Chairman Louise Ellman, Labour/Co-operative MP for Liverpool Riverside, said: “Congestion costs the economy billions of pounds each year. Improving the way we manage road space so that the network runs more smoothly is vital to the prosperity of the nation.

“Pursuing this challenge should form a key plank of central government transport policy.”

The committee has also proposed:

  • Forcing local councils to publish traffic management performance statistics
  • Explaining to drivers how to seek up-to-the-minute traffic information to help them avoid congested routes
  • Increasing the number of bus lanes to encourage individuals to use public transport
  • Making the Highway Code more readily available, for example through a smartphone app.


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Chris Torney

Chris Torney

Chris is the former personal finance editor at the Daily Express. He's been a journalist for more than 10 years and contributes to a wide range of finance and business titles.Read more from Chris

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