A Driving Instructor's Blog

Interesting programme on TV right now (available on ITV Player for the usual limited time).

They’re looking at possible changes to the driving test and post-test privileges. They’ve mentioned the statistics I’ve given here on several occasions, and the analysis given by some of the experts is exactly what I’ve been saying since I started the blog: that many young drivers think they know it all, but the fact is that they do not have the experience.

The programme is also giving airtime to that idiotic scheme where Young Drivers (as young as 11, in fact) are “taught” to drive. And they’ve shot themselves (well, the scheme, at any rate) in both feet by interviewing an 11-year old who now thinks he can drive, and says so confidently! Again, this is exactly the problem with this scheme – the only ones who benefit are the people who run it and charge premium prices to parents with too much money and too little sense. As I’ve said many times before, driving is for adults – not for children!

They’re also looking at “black box” schemes, which I have mentioned on previous occasions, as well as graduated licences, and the curfews – also covered here.

To try and make the programme more interesting they recruited three new, young drivers and “put them to the test” with an IAM observer (and remember that these people are just members of the public who think they’re good drivers and so join an organisation so they can tell everyone how great they are – they’re generally not proper instructors). They tested them on parallel parking – I’m not quite sure why, since parallel parking isn’t the reason young drivers have fatal crashes. The IAM observer reckoned they should have been able to do it with only having to turn to the left, then the right, with no adjustment – which is rubbish, since they don’t need to do it perfectly to pass their tests, nor do they have to do it perfectly in real life. Then they took them on a skidpan and two of them skidded (shock, horror!). Anyone who goes on a skidpan is guaranteed to skid the moment they do because that’s what they’re for. And then they did a night drive, and the girl misjudged a right turn and blew the front tyre on the kerb at speed. The IAM guy should have intervened, as this was extremely dangerous – except that I don’t think he was even aware of what was going to happen. They could both have been killed, yet he didn’t try and stop it – I’d even go so far as to say he wasn’t qualified to stop it.

To be honest, I find it insulting that IAM keeps implying that learners aren’t taught these things as standard when it’s own observers are clearly out of touch with real world driving and driving instruction. They are not instructors (well, some are, but that’s only because they decided they wanted an extra anorak). The only thing that my pupils don’t get to do is drive on the motorway, and even then I get them on the closest thing possible and do a long drive at 70mph. We cover country roads and night driving – and we drive on snow and ice in winter as long as they’re not beginners. IAM should get its facts straight for once and point out that even new drivers who have experienced those conditions don’t have the experience and can still have accidents. It’s because they lack experience. The IAM observer was completely out of his depth an all fronts on this programme.

The show didn’t conclude anything. It was merely presenting what I’ve covered on this blog over recent months because the information is freely available.

All that we have to wait for now is the number of pupils who will have seen it and so will conclude that the test IS changing and will want to know when.

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