This week saw the 80th anniversary of the UK driving test and I would like to take this opportunity to lend my voice to those calling for the development of a more stringent test. Specifically, I would like to see driving on both country roads and motorways (traditionally covered by the optional pass plus course) added to the current learning and testing process.
I believe that driving under these conditions can present some of the toughest challenges that inexperienced drivers will face on the road. I have always found it odd that traditionally we have regarded it unsafe for learners to drive on the motorway even when they are accompanied by an experienced instructor but as soon as they have passed their test that same driver is immediately entitled to go straight onto the motorway unaccompanied despite having no experience using that type of road.
I believe that if the driving test was extended (or drivers had to sit a follow up test that included motorways etc) that road safety would improve and lives could be saved. Having safer, more experienced drivers on our roads benefits everyone, regardless of whether they have been driving for 1 week or 10 years.
Both the driving test and the standard of driving on British roads have come a long way in the last 80 years; I hope we can now take one more proactive step towards saving lives and improving road safety for all who use them.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East