Strangely Brown wrote:Whilst I do not believe that the current driving test is fit for purpose, I also do not believe that adding a Motorway requirement to the test is the right place to start.
There are elements of everyday driving missing from the test that are far more important than Motorways. IMO, night driving and NSL rural roads should be taught and tested long before Motorways. If it requires a multi-part test in order to achieve that then so be it. I would be more than happy to see different competencies tested separately. The urban test can stay as it is and then test night driving and NSL rural separately.
If NSL rural roads are, as we constantly told, so "dangerous" then why is using them not taught and tested. Not everyone lives within a sensible distance of a motorway, but it gets dark everywhere.
The worst driving that I see on Motorways is usually from people that drive for a living. The worst being lorry drivers who seem to think that they can stop 44 tonnes in less than a few car lengths. Adding Motorways to the test appears, to me, to be a solution looking for a problem. Yes, it would probably be a benefit, but it's not the most important thing to tackle.
As far as testing rural driving is concerned, it all depends where the test centre is located. Localy, I have the option of using two test centres. Bournemouth, where only one test route takes in about two miles of rural road, and not very testing at that. Dorchester on the other hand, a whole test could consist of rural road, including sections that are almost single track.
Given that a driving test lasts about 38 to 40 minutes, it is not possible to test a candidates ability in too many differing conditions, and suburban test centres are probably only using suburban roads which may, or may not include complicated junctions and multi laned roads. A rural town test centre like Dorchester, does not have any complicated junctions like a larger town, but it does have T junctions joining busy NSL roads, something that Bournemouth lacks. In order to be able to take in a wider variety of roads, a driving test would probably need to be about 90 minutes long. This will add considerably to cost, both for candidates, and Government, for which the current Government will not alocate extra money. It will more than double test waiting times, which at the Bournemouth test centre this year were back up to the levels experienced in the early 2000s of anything between 8 and 13 weeks.
In conclusion, whilst a drivers ability should be tested on more varied types of road, I can't see it happening due to the costs involved.
With reference as to whether only ADIs should be alowed to accompany a learner on a motorway, or whether anyone who is over the age of 21 and has held a full licence for three years could also accompany learners on a motorway. It depends. I have no doubt that many, if not most on this forum have the neccessary skills, but many drivers simply do not. See the reactionary manner in which many drive. Put them alongside a learner, and it's a disaster waiting to happen. Be honest and ask youselves, are these drivers going to pass on their habits to the learner they are teaching? Most learners take lessons with an ADI, many also gaining road experience by driving with parents. It is important for the ADI to discuss rocedures with the parents where possible to avoid any conflict of information and confusion to the learner.