New research shows overwhelming support for 12-month minimum learning period for new drivers

Posted on 10/02/21 |

New research conducted by IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, has found overwhelming support for a 12-month minimum learning period for new drivers before they are allowed to take the practical driving test.

In its in-depth survey of more than 2,000 motorists, the charity found that more than two-thirds (68 per cent) strongly backed the suggestion that all new drivers, regardless of age, should undergo at least a year’s training and supervised practice before being allowed to take their practical test.

And while the Government committed to investigating some form of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) in 2019, including the possibility of a 12-month minimum learning period as a key component, they have still not offered any firm conclusions.

IAM RoadSmart is therefore calling for urgent action on this issue. The charity, citing the evidence presented to the recent House of Commons Transport Committee Inquiry into Young and Novice Drivers along with the strong public support demonstrated in this latest study, says that a move to Graduated Driver Licensing is a crucial step forward in improved road safety.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy & Research, said: “The Government must listen to the concerns of the vast majority of motorists who clearly understand the long-term safety benefits that a 12-month minimum learning period for all new drivers would bring.

“A lifetime of safe driving starts by gaining the right experience behind the wheel. Even the Government’s own statistics show that one in five new drivers crash within their first year on the road, so a longer learning period can only help make our roads safer for all road users.”

Meanwhile, the study found that around two-thirds (65 per cent) of people also support more encouragement for post-test training, believing that it would be beneficial for drivers to improve their skills through advanced driver training and testing. This rises to 71 per cent among drivers aged 17 to 49.

Neil added: “Lessons learnt at the start of your driving career can pay dividends and if new drivers had longer to experience all road types, in all weathers and at all times of the day and night before their test, the benefits can only increase. Experienced license holders need to update their observation, anticipation and planning