Well it is indeed a tumultuous time for learner drivers as the process of learning to drive comes under scrutiny with proposed changes announced by the DfT as part of their intentions to launch a green paper that seeks to improve the safety and reduce risks to learner drivers.
One of the proposals is a minimum learning period that learner drivers will need to complete before being allowed to sit their test. It is not clear as of yet the exact details of this minimum period but it has been speculated that a 6 or 12 month minimum learning period could be on the cards.
Alongside this there are other proposals which include the possibility of learner drivers having to demonstrate that they have experience of driving in different conditions and environments, including in the rain, in darkness and on the motorway. Testing is expected to become more rigorous and the probationary period during which new drivers can have their licences revoked after receiving 6 or more penalty points may also be extended.
In a press release on 25 March 2013, The DfT expressed their intentions of improving safety for learner drivers whilst also trying to tackle high insurance premiums that can at times almost threaten to bankrupt new learner drivers, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin expressed, “It is alarming that a fifth of people killed or seriously injured on our roads in 2011 were involved in a collision where at least one driver was aged 17 to 24. Improving the safety of our young drivers is therefore a real priority and will not only reduce casualties but should also mean a reduction in the sky-high insurance premiums they pay.”
Alas, it seems that the future of budding learner drivers remains unclear after the DfT announced that the publication of its green paper, originally forecast to be published during the summer has been delayed until the autumn.