Road safety call for learner drivers in Norfolk and Suffolk

A road safety call was issued last night to help learner drivers understand the perils of travelling along Norfolk and Suffolk's A roads.

The IAM Motoring Trust wants all learner drivers in East Anglia to drive on the area's long chain of single A roads as part of their driving test.

In a report the trust says 82pc of rural fatal and serious casualties in Britain are on single carriageway roads compared with just 18pc on motorways and dual carriageway roads.

By incorporating the roads in the test, the trust hopes that the death toll on the two counties' A roads will fall as new drivers realise how dangerous it can be if they speed, overtake or drive in poor weather conditions.

The call for the Driving Standards Agency to make rural A roads mandatory in the driving test was taken up by North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, whose constituency is criss-crossed with single carriage A roads, such as A149, A148 and A140.

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Mr Lamb said: 'It is clear to me that driving tests need to be robust. We should always be willing to further suggestions on how to make learner drivers understand different risks and the conditions that they will face when they pass their tests.'

In a joint statement, Insp David Ball, of Norfolk Police's roads policing unit, and his counterpart at Suffolk Police, Insp Bruce Gent, said the change to the driving test would benefit new drivers.

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Their statement said: 'Motorists need to be alert and aware of potential hazards at all times so anything that enhances new driver's skills and gives them greater experience on the roads can only be a benefit.'

The IAM Motoring Trust call for rural roads to be added to driving tests follows the publication of its Rural Roads – biggest killer report.

In Norfolk 13 people were killed and 63 were seriosly injured last year on A roads in non-built up areas with a speed limit of 50 to 60mph. Figures were not available for Suffolk.

In response to the rural road test demands, road safety minister Mike Penning told the EDP: 'Improving the safety and ability of young drivers is a key priority for the government.

'Where possible, higher speed rural roads and dual carriageways are already included in test routes and we would expect all driving instructors to give learner drivers experience on a variety of different types of road.

'We have made the driving test more realistic and less predictable, and are considering how to improve training for drivers before and after they pass their test to help them further develop their driving skills and knowledge.'

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