Graduated Driving Licences – What are the alternatives?

Worldwide, statistics consistently indicate that 95% of all vehicle crashes or incidents are caused by driver error.  Unfortunately, in the first 2 years after passing their driving test ‘new drivers’ are 5 times more likely to be a statistic than the ‘experienced’ driver.

Since 2009, all northern European countries have regulations in place controlling the standards of professional driving instruction and the standard required for a ‘new’ driver to legally drive unaccompanied.

For various reasons, and despite the implementation in the UK of new procedures such as Theory and Hazard Perception testing, the crash statistics relating to new drivers are not improving.  The lack of improvement is provoking agencies to investigate a new layer of restrictive measures in the form of Graduated Driver Licensing.

Why is this? What should be done about this?  Further restrict the freedom of every new and experienced driver by the imposition of more extremely costly restrictions? Or enhance and expand the basic training of the ‘new’ driver?

The very achievable, cost neutral and effective answer has to be ‘enhance and expand the basic training’ of the new driver.

The majority of drivers do not take risks intentionally – they naively and needlessly place themselves, and others, at risk through a lack of knowledge and understanding.  Regardless of the restrictions placed on them, those who enjoy ‘risk taking’ will continue to take risks – unless their attitude can be modified.

Driver testing agencies can only measure the performance of a test candidate on the day they were tested. -a situation easily exploited by many instructors who just teach their student drivers to pass their test and but not to drive. Believe it or not, there is a huge difference.

The current ‘on road’ testing methods available to the testing agencies make it impossible to assess a drivers likely natural responses to hazardous scenarios ‘post test’ when they are driving either unaccompanied or with a car load of ‘distracting’ friends.

There is a very cost effective solution – use a new breed of driving simulator for training and testing.

Driving simulators can positively and easily overcome the current problems in areas of training, coaching and testing of both attitude and responses of new and experienced drivers.

In recent performance evaluations the modern ‘high realism’ driving simulator is clearly shown to improve standards of ability and attitude in the new driver.

Simulators, where the vehicle cab configuration provides the driver with a wide field of vision, show a 66% lower accident rate compared with the general novice driver accident statistics in the first year of driving.

The wide field of vision desktop group show only a 25% improvement while the basic single monitor group show only 13% improvement.

This improvement is achieved with simulator programmes that do not remotely reach the new standards emerging from CIECA and the DSA in the UK.

A new and fully effective, competent and complete simulator training programme is now available, that, when installed and operated on a high specification simulator, will enable a student driver: –

  • to train to a fully detailed and guided syllabus

from ‘getting into a car for the first time – to a pre test readiness assessment’

from ‘passing the driving test to independent driving solo and with friends’

  • to train to a syllabus that incorporates all 4 Goals in the GDE Matrix
  1. Vehicle Control
  2. Driving in Traffic
  3. Goals and Context of Driving
  4. Goals for Life and Skills for Living.
  • to train to a syllabus that meets all of the requirements of the Driving Standards Agency ‘new’ National Driving Standard and Driver Trainer Standards.
  • to experience learning and personal development in a style and easy format designed to meet modern requirements
  • to develop powers of anticipation, ‘Hazard Perception’  and concentration
  • to develop positive driver attitude and responsibility
  • to experience driving in dangerous situations without any risk to life or vehicles
  1. Overtaking, darkness and in poor visibility due to fog
  2. In variable degrees of rain, snow and Ice
  3. In a variety of vehicles ans range of engine capacities and power
  4. In a range of vehicle types (car, 4 x 4, vans and LGV)
  5. With and without passengers and with variable loading of the  vehicle
  6. to experience the effects of distractions on driver concentration and attitudes
  7. to have  unlimited practice and an ‘action reply’ of any session

At all times this can be achieved in a uniform, structured and controlled manner, avoiding individual instructor idiosyncrasies and deviations, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and every week of the year, in a stress free environment in perfect safety and with an immediate printed assessment of performance on completion of each training session.

When the new simulator programme is used in conjunction with a fully interactive, on-line learning programme, designed to develop knowledge and challenge predisposed attitudes in relation to driver behaviour, the student driver will have the best opportunity to reduce personal risk of being involved in any motoring incident.

Education and ‘experience’ will improve attitudes of new drivers – additional restrictions will only work if drivers are forced to comply.  In these economic times can we make the necessary enforcement resources available?  Very doubtful!

Low cost effective education is available making additional costly and ineffective restrictions and interventions unnecessary.

Barry Jones 2010©

July 2010


About Barry Jones

40 years experience in the ‘driver education’ industry as driving instructor, DSA Assistant Chief Driving Examiner, driving instructor trainer and driving simulator designer and consultant. Barry is available for assessments and coaching for any driver or 'new' or 'experienced' driving instructor. Barry has always had a passion about cars and remains a lifelong follower, and previous competitor and organiser, of a range of motor sport activities including circuit racing and motor rallies. If anyone wishes to discuss any aspect of driving, training or motoring in general please do not hesitate to contact via email.
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