Driver competencies decreasing

A staggering 57% of British motorists think they are a worse driver now than when they first passed their test.

Research from Young Driver, the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons, revealed that only 43% felt they were better drivers now.

In fact, 39% of drivers thought they’d struggle to pass their test if they had to retake it now – rising to a worrying 46% of over 55s. More women than men also thought they would fail if they were to take a test tomorrow.

More than 2,400 drivers were questioned in the study.

Kim Stanton, who heads up Young Driver, said, ‘Most drivers know they’ve picked up bad habits along the way, which is why they probably feel like they’d fail if faced with an examiner. In reality we know experience makes a safer driver, and this is borne out in road safety statistics. Shockingly, one in five newly qualified drivers has an accident within six months of getting on the road. With 400,000 17-21 year olds passing their test every year, that’s 80,000 potentially avoidable accidents within this vulnerable group.

‘Almost 1,300 17-24 year olds are killed or seriously injured in road accidents each year – a much higher proportion than that age group accounts for in terms of the total number of road users.’

Driver education scheme Admiral Young Driver is aiming to help youngsters build up valuable experience behind the wheel, before the age of 17. Children as young as 10 can drive a brand new, dual controlled Vauxhall Corsa SRi with an experienced instructor and learn everything from how to park or negotiate a roundabout to emergency stops and dealing with blindspots. Almost half a million lessons have been given since the scheme launched eight years ago.

Existing research has shown that teaching young people to drive from an earlier age and over a longer period of time can halve the accident rate for a newly qualified driver in that dangerous first six months – dropping from one in five to one in 10.