Commons Gate

Novice Drivers (HC 355-ii)

Transport Committee 14 Mar 2006

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Evidence given by Mr Robin Cummins OBE, Road Safety Consultant, BSM; Mr John Lepine MBE, General Manager, Motor Schools Association of Great Britain; and Mr Steve Grigor, Driving Examiners Branch Secretary, PCS Union,Mr Adrian Walsh, Director of RoadSafe, Dr Lisa Dorn, Director of the Driving Research Group, Cranfield University, Mr Ian Edwards, Director of Education, a2om Academy and Professor Frank McKenna, Professor of Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Reading

Q236 Mr. David Clelland: One of the problems with trying to teach people how to avoid hazards is you have to put them in a hazardous situation in order to do that and that can be hazardous for the car, for the driver and for the instructor, can it not?

Mr Cummings: Yes.

Mr. David Clelland: Is there a case for the greater use of simulators? Would that help?

Q237 Chairman: Can I ask Mr Grigor that because I think that is pretty applicable? A number of driving instructors do get bashed up during tests, do they not, if I may so phrase it?

Mr Grigor: I am no expert on simulators, so I would hesitate to comment on that. Certainly when placed in hazardous situations on tests accidents do occur, examiners and candidates are injured sometimes quite seriously. I think that brings us back to an earlier point that Mr Efford made about motorways and about whether that should be included in the driving test. Almost certainly you would need to have a requirement there - and it is something that we would support - for 100 per cent of the vehicles that were used on the driving test to have dual controls fitted. At the moment only something like 95 per cent of the vehicles that come for tests are fitted with duals, but if you were going to take them into potentially hazardous areas like motorways I would suggest to the Committee that dual controls would be necessary.


Q320 Mr. David Clelland: We did ask this of the previous witnesses and it is interesting to examine why. Obviously, simulators are used quite a lot for training aircraft pilots.

Ms Dorn: Absolutely.

Q321 Mr. David Clelland: Would it not be the case that, although it may be true that people know that because it is a simulator nothing is going to happen to them, there is a challenge to the individual to succeed in the simulator?

Ms Dorn: Sure, but it is about training decision-making, and it seems to me that it is about the decisions that drivers are taking that are causing the problem. The motives behind those decisions are things that should be incorporated within any group discussion to aid their understanding because currently, obviously, hazard perception is very important but it is also about understanding what their risks are. That can be achieved in our view with group discussion and profiling and giving them the ability to understand what their limitations are. In that we can tailor and coach them appropriately.

This is an uncorrected transcript of evidence taken in public and reported to the House. The transcript has been placed on the internet on the authority of the Committee. Neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.

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