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MPs call for tougher driving tests to reduce road congestionBack

An all-party committee of MPs has announced today that the UK driving test needs to be made harder in order to ease the congestion on the roads.

The Transport Select Committee has revealed today a list of measures which it proposes will improve the skills of young motorists. According to the committee, road congestion will cost the British economy an additional £22 billion by 2025 if the problem is not addressed and improved, and MPs therefore believe that measures must be adopted in order to change the behaviour of motorists and improve road conditions in the future.

Louise Ellmand, chairman of the Transport Select Committee said: “It’s about having more responsible driving and not getting involved in bad behaviour and road rage. When the road narrows and two lanes converge into one people can start undertaking. Bad driving behaviour can add to the problem with people getting angry and not reading the road signs properly.”

Mrs Ellmand went on to describe how she believed that young drivers needed to gain a wider experience of all road conditions prior to their driving tests. Other measures suggested by the committee included keeping drivers regularly updated with the Highway Code by using an application for smart phones, and sending leaflets to motorists when they renew their licences.

Another measure encouraged by the committee involved drivers making more use of the Traffic Programme button, which can be found on 80 per cent of cars on the roads. Hit the button and you can be instantly connected to up to date traffic information regarding potential congestion hot spots.

Large motoring bodies such as the AA and the RAC are sceptical about the Government’s new proposals, and have pointed out that although the new report does contain some useful suggestions to reduce road congestion, there are certain points which have been overlooked.

The AA suggests that greater emphasis should be put on junction improvements and traffic light phasing, and it sites that a tougher driving test is a “red herring” when it comes to solutions for getting out of a jam. It suggests that a lot of the problems causing congestion stem from inconsiderate drivers who are aware of the road rules but simply do not wish to stick to them.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Most of us who are guilty of inconsiderate driving at some stage, yet changing the driving test will only address the symptom of bad behaviour, not the cause. Ministers can tell us all to drive better until they are blue in the face, yet with the population set to grow by ten million in twenty years congestion will go through the roof no matter how much we tinker at the edges.”

 

Posted by Leana Kell on 15/09/2011