BBC’s Newsbeat has found out that plans to change the way that the current driving test is operated have been put on hold. The government has said that it does not want to unfairly restrict the lives of young drivers, but critics have said that they are simply afraid of making the changes. Among the changes were plans for young drivers to receive what amounted to a probationary licence, as well as plans to include motorway driving and night-time driving within the driving course and subsequent test required.
Young drivers, and those that have only just passed their test, are the most likely to be involved in, or the cause of accidents. Part of this is down to inexperience on the roads, while recklessness can also be attributed to some of the incidents and accidents that occur. The government had planned to change the way that people learn to drive, and to introduce more rigorous tests to improve road safety levels.
A number of changes were planned. It had been suggested that learners would have to have a minimum of 120 hours of time behind the wheel before they would be allowed to sit their test. Only professional driving lessons would count, so time behind the wheel with parents would not. Critics had said that this would prohibit many because of the cost of lessons.
Driving tests were going to get longer and harder, and motorway driving was set to be included in the test. Currently, it is illegal for a learner driver to drive a car on the motorway, and there is no requirement to take any kind of lessons before driving on the motorway once a person has their full licence. Also, the current one year probationary period for a new driver was set to be extended to two years, although there were plans to allow teenagers to get a provisional licence at the younger age of 16, with this eventually being reduced to 15.
However, the government has shelved the plans, and many have said that the move is a sign of weakness that the government does not wish to upset the younger generation of voters and drivers.