Motorists would be okay with frequent driver retesting

UK survey shows motorists would welcome driver restesting every 5 years

Published: December 5, 2017, 4:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:05 PM

Student driver on road test

A new study out of the UK says motorists think that people should be required to take their driving test every five years, due primarily to the quick advancements in vehicle technology.

Continental Tyres surveyed 2,000 motorists and found that many are accepting of possibly having to take 12 additional driving tests over the course of their driving lives (assuming they drive from the age of 20 through 80), provided they pass every time they take the test (failed tests would require a re-take).

“It is interesting that people would accept sitting their practical driving test every five years,” enthused Mark Griffiths, safety expert at Continental Tyres. “It’s good to see people recognise safety is important and that they understand there are a lot of automotive technologies to keep up with.”

The research comes on the heels of the announcement of a new driving test with changes to independent driving time in the graduated licencing system, coping with instructions from an onboard navigation system, and new required driving manoeuvres.

Almost 50% thought the driving tests should be updated more frequently (this marks only the eighth time the driving test in the UK has changed since 1935) due to the rapid advancements in automotive technologies, as well as some driving practices — for example, the need to press hard on the brake pedal in slippery conditions rather than physically pumping the brakes, or changing steering to a shuffle rather than hand-over-hand so as not get an arm between the driver and the airbag that might deploy if the vehicle impacts something in an emergency manoeuvre.

Asked what things should be considered for changes, 64% of respondents wanted to see more awareness of the laws concerning mobile device use, and 57% wanted to see motorists instructed on how to check things like tire pressures and tire tread depth, and checking the levels of oil and other fluids.

Future drivers will also have to deal with the increasing proliferation of blind-spot warnings that negate the need for shoulder checks, parking assist that in many cases negates the need for drivers to know how to parallel park, lane keep assist that will not allow vehicles to change into an occupied lane or nudge the vehicle back into the lane in which its driving, and various forms of autonomous driving from assists such as keeping car-length distances and maintaining speeds to match traffic conditions, all the way up to fully autonomous driving where the car will negotiate lane changes and merging manoeuvres by itself.

And with the impending movement toward fully electric vehicles, drivers also need to be educated on being more aware of their surroundings, especially around pedestrians with headphones on and their faces buried in mobile devices, as well as on driving techniques to preserve their driving ranges on extended drives to make sure they can get where they need to go.