Learner & Restricted Drivers

Right To Ride Response to: Department of the Environment

Proposed Changes to the Learner and Restricted Driver Schemes and on Graduated Driver Licensing

Consultation closed on 19th July 2011

22nd July 2011

Right To Ride welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Department’s consultation on the, “Proposed Changes to the Learner and Restricted Driver Schemes and on Graduated Driver Licensing.”

This response is the representative views of Right To Ride Ltd which is a Non Government Organisation (NGO) registered as a non profit company limited by guarantee (Registered Number N1073799).

Right To Ride’s objectives are: To carry on activities, in particular (without limitation) to promote awareness and understanding of training, environmental road safety and security issues relating to the use of those vehicles classed in law as motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, motorcycle combinations and tricycles and to research and investigate solutions to these topics. To do all such other lawful things as may be incidental or conductive to the attainment of the above objects.

About Our Response

Our response to the consultation comes from a motorcycling perspective. The previous Minister’s (Edwin Poots) comments in the Executive summary of the consultation, “If we are to achieve this target, (to reduce by at least 55% the number of young people killed or seriously injured on our roads) it is clear that we must improve how we train and test drivers to ensure that they are competent and safe when they start to drive unaccompanied.”

Edwin Poots further stated that, “The current training and testing regime is not fit for purpose. Currently we put too much emphasis on testing ability to control a vehicle and perform a range of basic manoeuvres. Not enough attention is paid to the motivations, attitudes and behaviours we know are linked to an increased risk of being involved in a collision.”

Learner motorcyclists have faced a change in the training and testing regime through the introduction of CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) in 2011 and in 2013 the 3rd European Driving Licence Directive which sees a progressive and direct access scheme to obtain a full licence. This scheme is a combination of engine cc, brake horse power and power to weight ratio which is linked to what age these motorcycles can be accessed at.

These testing regimes should be looked at as regarding Learner, Restricted Drivers and Graduated Driver Licensing but more importantly for motorcyclists, is that any changes should be made in relation to attitudes and behaviours

To this end we would welcome the introduction to require the use of driver records/student workbooks linked to the new Learning to Drive syllabus.

However taking this one step further, the NI government has recently introduced Compulsory Basic Training for motorcyclists therefore a similar model could be designed for novice car drivers. This would allow the novice driver to have professional instruction, a CBT test and then the opportunity to continue practicing under supervision until they are confident enough to pass their driving exam.

Equally, as with the CBT, the novice driver would keep a log book while being instructed by a professional instructor to ensure that he/she has fulfilled the requirements of the course prior to doing the test.

Any revision of the practical driving test, especially the use of workbooks, must include a “theoretical” introduction for learner drivers to be aware of and thus actively look out for other road users especially motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users such as cyclists.

Learner drivers should be instructed and taught how to interact not only with the road but with other road users, in our specific case motorcycles (Motorcycles – Scooters – Mopeds), which then asks the question of what is actually being taught to Learner drivers?

Information

To View Our Response Document – pdf – 301kb – Click Here

DOE – Consultation on Proposed Changes to the Learner and Restricted Driver Schemes and on Graduated Driver Licensing – Click Here

Consultation closed on 19th July 2011

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