The Department of Transport recently suggested that all candidates who take a driving test should qualify for rebates if they pass the first time. However, those who fail will not get any refunds from the £62 that is being proposed to be charged for taking the driving test. However, the department has clarified this is not simply a ploy to grow revenues. The money retained will be used to fund a program to reduce fees for the basic practical test.
According to statistical data from the Transport Department, 1.5 million people take the test each year. About 26% of all who take the test usually have to do it more than twice. It is worrying to note that only 21% of all people who apply for the test pass on the first trial. The rest, 53% usually fail the test on the second trial.
From this program, the Department of Transport expects people to take more time rehearsing before showing up for the test. The result will be less accident on the roads due to inexperienced drivers who barely made it through the tests. This is especially due to the realisation that young drivers cause almost 20% of all accidents. These people are at the age of 24 years or less. However, they only make up about 7% of the entire driving population. It then follows that the reason may be due to the inadequacy of the driving tests.
Any move that is likely to reduce accidents on the roads is welcome by every concerned stakeholder. In addition, it is likely to reduce the amount people have to spend to get a driving license. For instance, the Department reveal that one man had spent almost £2,000 to pass the test. This was because he had to do the tests eleven times.
There is also a proposal to speed up the process of acquiring a driving license for Large Goods Vehicles (LGV). This will be done by encouraging increased sharing of information between the various agencies that deal with this area. There is also a proposal to increase the number of ties set for taking driving tests. This will include evenings and the weekends. The number of venues provided for taking driving tests is also set to increase under the new proposals.
Another proposal calls for a review of the services being currently provided by motoring agencies. Other proposals that will undoubtedly to cost reductions suggest that there should be a change of providers and combining the services provided by motoring agencies. The result of this proposal if passed would see the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency merged into a single, efficient unit. In addition, a proposal passed last year will now see all tests conducted in English or Welsh. This is because there have been concerns over the dishonesty of interpreters during tests.
Reducing Waiting Times
The proposal to reduce the waiting times for test will undoubtedly see more people taking their tests. However, this is not the only way to reduce the amount of waiting one has to do. As soon as one registers for driving lessons, they should begin the registration process for the test. This will see them spend less time waiting to take the test. There is also a proposal by the Minister to find a more efficient way to register for the test. This will include an online portal that is easier to use by all potential motorists.
Chances of Passing Vary With Region
Statistics also indicate that people in rural areas have a higher passing rate when compared to those in the cities. This is in part because people in these areas have roads that have less traffic on which to practice before going for the test. However, for people in the urban areas, passing the test is hard because congested roads reduce the opportunities for training.
This latest move by the Department of Transport is highly welcome. However, the issue is still up for debate and will only be considered next year, 2016, on January 8. For now, the Department is inviting interesting parties to give their input on these proposals.