The Motor Schools Association (MSA) is asking the government to do more to improve road safety throughout the UK. MSA activists are focusing in particular on the number of fatalities that occur as a result of car accidents, and saying that new drivers are not getting the education they need to prevent them.
In 2011, a total of 1,901 road deaths occurred – an increase of three per cent on the previous year. The MSA filed a report to the Transport Select Committee to draw attention to this fact, as it represents the first rise since 2003. A number of victims in these fatal collisions were quite young, between the ages of 16 to 25. Figures show that 27 per cent of young men aged 17 to 19 are involved in a wreck at some point during their first year of driving.
John Lepine, MSA’s general manager, said: “The Motor Schools Association is frustrated by the seeming lack of activity on what is a very serious issue. The fact that in 2011 we saw a three per cent increase in road deaths is simply unacceptable. A number of road safety ministers have picked up on these issues, but little has been done."
The Transport Select Committee has looked into this matter before, as it published an investigative report into road safety just last year. Although the MSA supported driver safety getting the attention it deserves, they were critical of the committee’s inconclusive findings, which merely called for a review of driver training.
Mr Lepine added: “We do not require another review; what we require is firm action to stem this fatality rate – particularly amongst new drivers."
“We have been reviewing driver training for years and despite successive governments and the select committee making several recommendations, little has been done,” Mr Lepine said. He and the MSA would like to see swift action taken to reduce road deaths in the UK. To get things going, they've proposed four major changes.
First, the group wants to improve road safety by overhauling approved driving instructors’ (ADI) qualifying process and implementing a continuous professional development programme – compulsory for ADIs to practice their profession. This will ensure drivers receive training only from the best, most competent teachers, which should improve road skills throughout the nation.
Next, the MSA would like to see ADIs be able to ‘sign-off’ on technical driving manoeuvres, allowing more time on the practical driving test for ‘genuine’ driving that motorists can expect to encounter on the road every day.
A statutory record of achievement as part of the learning process has also been proposed by the group. Drivers would be required to follow a specific syllabus in their training programme. The MSA would also like to see more drivers get practical experience on the motorway, by allowing them to take tuition on busy roads under the supervision of an ADI.
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Posted by Danielle Barge