Novice driver safety and the British practical driving test. Prepared for the Department for Transport, Road Safety Strategy Division.

Baughan, C.J. Sexton, B. Maycock, G. Simpson, H. Chinn, L. & Quimby, A.

Novice drivers have a much higher accident liability than more experienced drivers. One approach to improving novice driver safety is to modify the driving test to induce learner drivers to accumulate more or better training and experience, and to screen-out drivers who have not yet reached a standard acceptable for solo driving. The Department for Transport (DfT) commissioned TRL to assess the scope for such improvements. A number of potential improvements were identified, and some were implemented in May 1999. To develop an understanding of how the test might be further improved, studies were made of the consistency of candidates’ performance at the time they come for test, the way in which candidates decide when to come for test, the literature on novice driver accidents and its implications for driver testing, the influence of test route and other test characteristics on pass rates, and the relation between numbers and types of faults made during the test and subsequent accidents. In Britain, the driving test is currently the main tool for inducing learner drivers to build up their competence by training and experience before driving solo. However, to achieve the desired improvements in safety it may be necessary to make other changes to the training/testing/licensing system so that it becomes less reliant on the driving test itself. The project included a review of licensing systems in other countries with a view to identifying measures that might be effective in Britain. (Author/publisher)


20081197 ST [electronic version only]

Crowthorne, Berkshire, Transport Research Laboratory TRL, 2005, VI + 74 p., ref.; TRL Report ; No. 652 - ISSN 0968-4107 / ISBN 1-84608-651-5

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