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Why the driving test should be tougher

PUBLISHED: 05:30 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 07:49 14 March 2018

Picture: PA

Picture: PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

When I was a 17-year-old and eager to be independent, I always thought the driving test was way too tough.

Fail someone for a few minor errors? Deny someone their freedom because they take a few minutes longer to do a three-point turn? It didn’t seem fair.

However everything I have seen since has only convinced me the driving test should in fact be much, much tougher.

I admit, advocating a more stringent driving test is a tough sell.

If we fail more people, that’s fewer people who are mobile.

Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoPicture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Particularly in rural counties like Norfolk and Suffolk, not 
being able to drive would make it much harder for people to go shopping, get to work or visit a loved one.

However in my view, nothing whatsoever can ever trump safety.

To put it bluntly, you may not be able to get to work if you can’t drive - but you definitely can’t get there if you’ve been involved in a road crash.

That may sound like I’m presuming everyone who gets behind the wheel is going to end up in some dreadful accident.

Picture: JAMES BASS/ARCHANT LIBRARYPicture: JAMES BASS/ARCHANT LIBRARY

I’m not. But the reality is statistics prove those most likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash are people who have just passed their tests.

Those are figures we cannot ignore, particularly when many of those deaths are caused by driver error.

Does that mean we should raise the age someone can learn to drive? Of course not.

Many people aged 17 are perfectly skilled and mature enough to get behind the wheel.

Conversely, there are some people aged much older who are not yet ready.

We cannot discriminate on the basis of age. Where we can discriminate is on the basis on someone’s driving ability and readiness to be on the road.

The only way you do that is by making the test tougher.

There should be less tolerance of even minor errors, especially when it is a minor error that can cost someone their life. There should be more elements to the test too.

Driving may be something we consider as an everyday activity - but one careless decision can cost a life.

It has already cost too many. We must act now to prevent more.


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