A report in the Independent on Sunday says a major overhaul of the driving test will consider how driverless cars will change the needs of the driving licence.
According to the report, officials are “pondering how to tailor the test to reflect an expected surge in driverless cars over the next decade.”
It’s quoting a Government document which, it says, will use this year’s 80th anniversary of the driving test to push through the reforms. The document points out how motoring is rapidly changing due to advances in technology stating: “In the 130 years since Karl Benz built the first modern motor car there has been continuous and accelerated development of automotive technology. Such development will doubtless continue, with the prospect of driverless cars now a real possibility.”
Separately the Daily Star Sunday claims that the new driving test will feature a section on using a sat nav.
Another change will be to raise the age at which drivers must declare that they are fit to drive from 70 to 75. Britta Lang, Head of Safety Science at TRL, is cautiously welcoming this idea saying, “In relation to other driver groups such as young drivers, statistics show that older drivers as a group are very safe. In fact, despite the growing numbers of elderly drivers, fatality rates are decreasing.
“This excellent safety performance is often attributed to their willingness to self-regulate – that is to adapt their driving patterns to any perceived age-related changes in their abilities. For example, drivers may reduce their mileage, start avoiding certain situations, such as driving at night, or give up driving altogether.
“Whilst research to-date suggests that the majority of older drivers self-regulate successfully, there is evidence to suggest that a small proportion (10 per cent) may not adopt protective strategies to match the driving demands to their capability. However, there is no evidence from international research to suggest that more stringent age-related assessments would have road safety benefits. Therefore, it appears logical to reduce administrative effort and cost and to introduce self-certification from the age of 75 onwards.
“Nevertheless, it’s important that support remains in place for all who may need it. Road safety trends should continue to be monitored to identify and enable swift reaction to changes in collision trends, and guidance should be provided to older individuals and their families to help make responsible decisions about fitness to drive. In addition, awareness of alternative transport modes for the elderly should be increased in order to promote a continued active, safe and connected lifestyle for all.”