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Gear up for tougher roads IAM Drive & Survive tells employees

14 June 2010

The driving test is 75 years old. Its anniversary has prompted IAM Drive & Survive to engourage employers to help their drivers continually improve their technique in keeping with increasingly demanding driving conditions.

Simon Elstow, head of training at IAM Drive & Survive, a Driving for Better Business campaign partner, said, “There are more cars on the road than ever before, and the driving environment is becoming more complicated. Our culture has become increasingly fast paced, everything is done on the move.

“Business drivers tend to travel many miles, often while tired and stressed, with the regular distraction of the ‘mobile office’. Our driving tests, however, have changed little over the years, and an improvement in driving standards is needed to fill the gap.

“Although cars are becoming easier to drive - with much improved brakes and suspension as well as power steering and a host of safety systems - traffic has significantly increased and traffic networks have become immensely more complex, so the business driver needs far more understanding of what’s going on outside the car.”

IAM wants to see a rural road element being incorporated into the driving test, as it is not currently compulsory. In the UK 71% of road deaths occur on rural roads.

“It is improving the driver which will make the single biggest improvement to road safety in the future, and drivers need to take it upon themselves to adopt a lifelong learning approach,” added Mr Elstow.

In 1935 when the driving test was introduced there were only 1.4 million cars on the road – today there are more than 28.3 million. But, within a year of the test being introduced the death toll had fallen by nearly 1,000 people.

The year before the test was introduced, 7,343 people were killed on Britain’s roads when there were just 2.4m vehicles. In 2008 there were two-thirds fewer deaths (2,538), but 34m vehicles.

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