Thursday, 9 February 2012

Driving theory test is officially harder now

The driving theory test is the first step to being allowed to drive a car on your own on the road. It's a big thing to take and it's just been made a little harder.

The Driving Standards Agency used to make passing rather easy, as all the possible questions and answers were published in 'revision' books and DVDs.

This has now changed. Help will still be available in the form of books and software, but rather than spoon feeding the answers to wannabe Vettels they'll use case studies and examples to make candidates apply their knowledge to real world situations.

So, rather than becoming short-term Rain Men of the Highway Code, participants will hopefully learn something that'll stick with them for a while afterwards.

Critics of the 'old' test were placated after an AA survey showed that 23 percent of drivers didn't know who had priority when traffic lights weren't working and that 46 percent didn't know what flashing amber lights at pelican crossings meant.

Mark Peacock, Head of AA Driving School said: "Learners should not unduly worry about the changes to the test. The new test calls for greater understanding, which can be gained from professional tuition and some time spent revising - both of which would have been needed to pass the theory test confidently before the changes."

Further improvements to the test will inevitably come, though we can't help but think that candidates would be better off not learning the perilous 'reverse around the corner' technique. No one, apart from learner drivers, reverses around a corner quite as precisely.

IAM: Cheaper insurance costs and training for young drivers

The institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has called on the Government and insurance companies to provide reduced insurance costs to young drivers who take additional training after passing their tests.

With premiums having risen substantially over the last few years, many young drivers admit to lying about their details to insurers, in hope of a better deal. Not surprising, when you consider the average premium for a 17-22 year old man is £2,977 – more than three times the national of £907.

Worryingly, a Government Transport Select Committee survey recently found that 21% of young drivers had considered driving with no insurance at all.

The IAM is also calling for the standard of the driving test to be reviewed.

It is highlighting the issue after its own survey revealed that half of all new drivers questioned did not feel fully prepared to drive on their own, and that 74% would definitely take further driving training if it meant reduced insurance premiums.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "The simplest way to reduce insurance premiums is to prevent accidents. We need to start rewarding good drivers by encouraging further driver training through cheaper insurance.

"Pass Plus no longer provides a respected or effective training offering. The government, insurance and road safety industries need to work closely together to develop a better, universally recognised option - a partnership which the IAM is keen to be a part of."

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