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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 01:27 
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The Daily Telegraph - David Millward wrote:
MPs call for tougher driving test to ease road congestion
Tougher driving test could ease congestion
By David Millward, Transport Editor - 6:20AM BST 15 Sep 2011

The driving test should be made tougher to ease congestion, an all-party committee of MPs has said.

Improving the skills of young motorists is among a package of measures proposed by the Transport Select Committee.
According to the committee road congestion will cost the British economy an extra £22 billion by 2025 if the problem is not tackled.
With the Coalition having ruled out “pay as you drive “road pricing, the MPs believed that changing motorists’ behaviour could play a significant part in easing the problem.
“It’s about having more responsible driving and not getting involved in bad behaviour and road rage,” said Louise Ellman, the committee chairman.
“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 Ellman said that the committee believed young drivers should be expected to have a far wider experience of all road conditions before they presented themselves for a driving test.
Other initiatives advocated by the Committee included keeping all drivers updated on the Highway Code.
This could be done by devising an application for smart phones such as the Blackberry, Android and iPhone as well as sending leaflets to motorists when they renew their licences.
Drivers should also be encouraged to use the Traffic Programme button, which is on 80 per cent of cars, which would provide them with up to date information on potential congestion hot spots.
“This report contains some good suggestions to reduce road congestion,” said Edmund King, the AA’s president.
“The report did not consider road building but we believe it could have placed greater emphasis on junction improvements and traffic light phasing.
“We do question why the first recommendation in the Committee’s press release for reducing congestion is a tougher driving test.
“Whilst a tougher test might be needed on road safety grounds it would do little to reduce congestion. In terms of getting out of the jam a tougher test is a red herring.
“Drivers tend to hog the middle lane because they are inconsiderate rather than because they don’t know the rules of the road.
“Some drivers get involved in road rage because they have anger management problems not because they don’t know the Highway Code.”

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, added: "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.”

However, Mike Penning, the roads minister, defended the Government’s record.
“We know how important it is that the driving test properly prepares people for life on the roads.
“That is why we have already added a new independent driving element to the test, allowing candidates to demonstrate their ability to drive safely in more realistic situations, and have stopped publishing driving test routes."
So if we can't build the roads as needed, they will try to reduce the volume of traffic ? Is this really their answer ?
If there is a significant number of people who have 'road rage' then surely helping people understand and know the processes by which to deal with the beginnings of frustration is the first step? The second is to ensure everything is being done to prevent, (as much as possible), all 'frustrating experiences' on the road ?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 07:49 
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So instead of using road pricing to "price the poor off the roads", they want to use a more difficult driving test to "test the thick off the roads". I'm sure that will go down well :roll:

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 09:14 
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I couldn’t get past the first sentence without thinking how wrong and stupid that is! If you want to ease congestion you do it with incentives; improved infrastructure for cycles, better/cheaper public transport etc.

I’m not sure making the test harder makes for a better driver anyway. I think most people see the test as something you just have to get through; a means to an end. After I passed my riding test I had accidents and my observation and riding skills were useless quite frankly. But over time I learned how to be a good safe rider through empiricism and the application of common sense.

To make the test harder with the sole intention of stopping people taking to the road typifies just how completely out of touch and selfish they are! Some of the best drivers I know are not, how shall I say, a natural scholar. So if they pile more academia into the mix you are likely to filter out the better and more skillful drivers, if anything.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 09:49 
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Big Tone wrote:
I couldn’t get past the first sentence without thinking how wrong and stupid that is! If you want to ease congestion you do it with incentives; improved infrastructure for cycles, better/cheaper public transport etc.

And build some :censored: roads.

Big Tone wrote:
Some of the best drivers I know are not, how shall I say, a natural scholar. So if they pile more academia into the mix you are likely to filter out the better and more skillful drivers, if anything.

Effectively it would turn driving into a middle-class privilege. Compare it with getting a private pilot's licence. Many of the finest fighter pilots of WW2 were not natural scholars. But the time and expense needed to get a pilot's licence nowadays means you have to be reasonably well off to afford it.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:59 
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PeterE wrote:
Effectively it would turn driving into a middle-class privilege.
Exactly! :hoppingmad: They've priced me off the road for a start :x And someone else I know..

My lodger was looking at buying a car when his new build flat is ready, but because he's always been on his wife's insurance he's starting from fresh. (He's getting a divorce, hence why he's with me). He's 56 years old and the cheapest quote he can get is £2,500!!! :o

He's never had an accident and, like me, drives different pool cars. They won't take anything into account; the stuff from being on his wife's for 20 years or the driving we do at work - not even his age it seems. :headbash:

It was £210 when I last had my own car 18 months ago but I know they were doubling shortly after that. I've got no chance of getting one again.

Oh, I nearly forgot.. So he looked into getting a brand new one with a years worth of insurance thrown in. But he needs to have some previous insurance of his own under that scheme :headbash:

He's bought a Bromton to cycle around and folds it up on trains and buses. He gets heckled of course cuz he looks like a dork on it and this is England after all.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 13:15 
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A bar raised too high will inevitably result with folks going underneath it.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 13:36 
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That’s a nice analogy Steve. :)

As always the Goverment prefer the stick to a carrot, unless it’s a turd painted orange.

That’s not such a good analogy but it’s all I can come up with at the moment. :D

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 16:16 
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From what I experience from driving , it isn't the younger drivers who have just passed their tests, who cause the worst congestion , so much as older, middle aged drivers, who take up poor road positions at junctions, causing tailbacks when other drivers could pass to their left or right and failing to indicate properly at junctions/roundabouts and hence slowing people who could have pulled out, if they had known their intentions also people dawdling at 30MPH in 40MPH limits that were once 60MPH anyway.

I do, however, notice people leave pulling away from traffic lights to the last minute now, as if they aren't taught to select first gear at the amber anymore and people leaving a ten yard gap before starting to pull away, so maybe bad driving instruction is causing some hold ups?

Maybe a kick up the backside of LAs and their enthusiasm to introduce traffic lights everywhere, would be the biggest help to minimise congestion though.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 16:25 
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I agree that being slow off the mark at lights seems to be a growing problem. There's one I used to regularly use which would let about 7 cars through if they were quick, but only 3 or 4 if they weren't :x

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 20:27 
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Big Tone wrote:
After I passed my riding test I had accidents and my observation and riding skills were useless quite frankly. But over time I learned how to be a good safe rider through empiricism and the application of common sense.


That is the only way you learn, empirically. Tests are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. They merely show you are up to the required standard to pass the test. That does not necessarily translate into the candidate being a good driver. By default, they are not. They may possess the raw skill but they do not have the experience. You learn that on the roads, one way or another.

That is why I am such a fan of the CBT as it gives people real-world experience and enables them to get out there to explore the best classroom there is - the road. Another thing the EU is keen to do away with. :roll:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 23:47 
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It seems to me that the majority of congestion is caused by poor road design that has purposely been designed to cause congestion.

I live in Hampshire and as soon as I see a sign saying "Hampshire Improving your roads", normally means the road is about to altered so there will be more congestion. Things, like doing away with a bus lay-bye and putting a traffic island alongside a bus stop so that traffic has to wait behind the bus while it is loading. Hatching out long stretches of road with solid lines so that traffic cannot overtake. Putting traffic lights on a service road so that whenever a cycle, that has ignored the lights in any case, goes by, sets the lights in the main road to red. Just the same as traffic turning from the side road into the service road or vice versa, sets the lights in the main road to red thus holding up traffic unnecessarily. Having 3 lanes at traffic lights that reduce to two lanes fifty yards beyond the lights. Erecting fences at roundabouts so traffic entering the roundabout cannot see what is traversing the roundabout.

Then of course you have Southampton, who I am sure must have shares in a manufacturer of traffic lights. There are so many that invariably you are stuck at a green light because one at the next junction is at red thus holding everything up. Or the traffic lights that have pedestrian controlled lights a few car lengths before the main traffic lights which often means that the pedestrian lights turn red just as the main lights turn green meaning that only two or three vehicles get through on a change of lights. Or lights on a bus lane that that turn green a head of the main lights regardless of whether a bus is present.

So with the likes of the above, I fail to see how revising the driving test is going to make any difference, other than I suppose. if there are less people with driving licences there will be less people on the roads.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 00:46 
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Personally I'm all for testing the thick off the roads; driving is a privilege and not a right, and if people aren't sharp enough to do it in something approximating the best manner they can then they have no business being out there.

Certainly the allusions to WWII fighter pilots is a massive red herring, those poor lads took to the skies with a bare minimum of training, and were as much of a hazard to themselves as the enemy were. The modern aviation licensing model is one the driving world would do well to emulate, focussing on wider knowledge and ongoing currency and assessment; so what if it might be more expensive, this is actually a case of putting a price on a life, unlike speed cameras.

I agree that poor lane discipline is a significant part of the problem, and that older drivers are just as guilty of it, if not more so. I do not agree that the training, testing and licensing authorities cannot play a part in rectifying this.

I did not read the report as trying to reduce the volume of traffic through tougher testing, more that they would see people better utilising the limited road-space available. I have lost track of the time I have spent in the left-hand lane, comfortably and safely (and legally) passing two lanes full of traffic to my right.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 09:04 
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RobinXe wrote:
Personally I'm all for testing the thick off the roads; driving is a privilege and not a right, and if people aren't sharp enough to do it in something approximating the best manner they can then they have no business being out there.

I have always felt a little uncomfortable about this particular usage, especially as it is a favourite saw of the anti-car lobby. Clearly use of the roads in a motor vehicle is not a "right" as such, as people need to meet certain conditions, but on the other hand the word "privilege" has the connotations of some kind of special favour granted by the authorities on a possibly arbitrary basis, rather than something that is open to all. The first definition of "privilege" on dictionary.com is "a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most."

On the other hand, provided people can meet and maintain the conditions set down by the authorities, driving is open to anyone. And it's often said that the existence of "privilege" is a bad thing in society anyway.

So to my mind, although it is perhaps more long-winded, it is far more accurate to describe driving as a "conditional entitlement" rather than a "privilege".

RobinXe wrote:
Certainly the allusions to WWII fighter pilots is a massive red herring, those poor lads took to the skies with a bare minimum of training, and were as much of a hazard to themselves as the enemy were.

No, the point being made is that it is possible for people to be natural pilots without being academically gifted.

RobinXe wrote:
The modern aviation licensing model is one the driving world would do well to emulate, focussing on wider knowledge and ongoing currency and assessment; so what if it might be more expensive, this is actually a case of putting a price on a life, unlike speed cameras.

My view is that a regime which forced a lot of people to become pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, and made it well-nigh impossible for them ever to learn to drive, would in fact result in more road casualties overall. It would also breed resentment and envy of those who could drive, and probably lead to tougher restrictions on drivers, not a more relaxed enforcement climate.

If taken beyond a certain point it could also be damaging to the economy.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:51 
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It is of course possible to be a natural pilot, but this means you'll pass the required tests more easily, so I'm not sure how you think academic ability plays any part. Are you saying that you could be a natural, pass the tests, but then behave like an imbecile afterwards? We sure do see plenty of that on the roads!

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My view is that a regime which forced a lot of people to become pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, and made it well-nigh impossible for them ever to learn to drive, would in fact result in more road casualties overall.


Could you please outline the logical steps you have taken in coming to this conclusion?

Nobody is saying that driving privileges should only be extended to those as skilled as pilots, and given the vast disparity in the training already required between drivers of differing abilities, I fail to see any reason to believe that even twice the expense would just stop people ever driving altogether.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:15 
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PeterE wrote:
So instead of using road pricing to "price the poor off the roads", they want to use a more difficult driving test to "test the thick off the roads". I'm sure that will go down well :roll:


I'd rather the unsafe than the poor were driven off the roads, if anyone had to go.

I'm all for tougher testing, but I think the extra toughness should take the form of some kind of regular retesting instead. My understanding of the modern test is that it's no pushover.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:31 
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RobinXe wrote:
Quote:
My view is that a regime which forced a lot of people to become pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, and made it well-nigh impossible for them ever to learn to drive, would in fact result in more road casualties overall.

Could you please outline the logical steps you have taken in coming to this conclusion?

Because you are placing more people in the situation of being "vulnerable road users" where they are at risk of collisions with motor vehicles.

You are at much less risk of death or injury carrying out any given journey as a car occupant than as a pedestrian or cyclist.

Obviously the 1920s and 1930s were very different from today, but in those days, when there were many fewer cars on the road, but a lot more pedestrians and cyclists, road casualties as a whole were much higher, and proportionately they included many more pedestrians and cyclists.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 19:51 
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If the solution really is borne out of a want of easing congestion, then the authorities would instead look into ending the scourge of traffic lights (especially the full-time ones on roundabouts).

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 23:08 
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PeterE wrote:
RobinXe wrote:
Quote:
My view is that a regime which forced a lot of people to become pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, and made it well-nigh impossible for them ever to learn to drive, would in fact result in more road casualties overall.

Could you please outline the logical steps you have taken in coming to this conclusion?

Because you are placing more people in the situation of being "vulnerable road users" where they are at risk of collisions with motor vehicles.

You are at much less risk of death or injury carrying out any given journey as a car occupant than as a pedestrian or cyclist.

Obviously the 1920s and 1930s were very different from today, but in those days, when there were many fewer cars on the road, but a lot more pedestrians and cyclists, road casualties as a whole were much higher, and proportionately they included many more pedestrians and cyclists.



I would have said it would balance out. There will be less congestion and the drivers on the road would be of a higher standard. That is not to say I agree with the proposals at all. I also think any comparison between the increase in accidents and the greater number of pedestrians killed in the 20s and 30s and the potential result of the anti-congestion proposals is an impossible one to draw. I don't think what happened 80 or 90 years ago bears any relation to modernity or can be used to accurately predict trends resulting from what are, in my believe, misguided plans to reduce congestion.

There was no concept of road safety or certainly not what we today would think of as road safety in the 20s/30s. People were not as aware. There were fewer cars on the road meaning people would have been unused to them and may have been take by surprise - these days, even on a deserted country road, I don't know about you, but I am never complacent and always expect some form of traffic no matter how remote the area. Cars were no where near as safe, for those behind the wheel or pedestrians. The technology was still in its infancy. Roads were poorer than they are even today, drink driving was presumably a big problem that could go virtually undetected. Then there is the fact that a lot of KSIs may have survived with modern medicine, ambulance response times or even people on the scene with what we think of as basic first aid knowledge. That is just off the top of my head - I don't think you can compare the two, really.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 01:00 
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PeterE wrote:
RobinXe wrote:
Quote:
My view is that a regime which forced a lot of people to become pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users, and made it well-nigh impossible for them ever to learn to drive, would in fact result in more road casualties overall.

Could you please outline the logical steps you have taken in coming to this conclusion?

Because you are placing more people in the situation of being "vulnerable road users" where they are at risk of collisions with motor vehicles.

You are at much less risk of death or injury carrying out any given journey as a car occupant than as a pedestrian or cyclist.

Obviously the 1920s and 1930s were very different from today, but in those days, when there were many fewer cars on the road, but a lot more pedestrians and cyclists, road casualties as a whole were much higher, and proportionately they included many more pedestrians and cyclists.


As the Doktor has said above, this is a non-sequitur, fewer drivers might well mean more pedestrians, but it also means fewer drivers! I also recall a study quoted by one of our militant cyclist members that cited an increase in safety for vulnerable road users when their numbers were greater. So I don't think we can write this one off on the grounds of safety!

As I mentioned before, everyone has taken the idea of more stringent assessment of drivers as a means to reduce congestion as meaning that the intention is to prevent more people driving. Once again, this does not seem to be what is being said, merely that it would be a way of ensuring that those entrusted with the responsibility of commanding a motor vehicle were aware, able and motivated to make the best use of the road space available!

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