Driving: Rural Areas

Department for Transport written question – answered on 8th March 2017.

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Photo of Lord Teverson Lord Teverson Chair, EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, Chair, EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking, if any, to ensure that driving test requirements, and driving penalties, reflect the need to improve the quality of driving on rural roads and adherence to the Countryside Code, particularly with regard to passing non-motorised transport such as bicycles and horses.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is taking measures to make the theory and practical driving tests more reflective of a real life driving journey, including a greater emphasis on driving safely on rural roads.

Theory Test:

The DVSA is currently refreshing the Hazard Perception Test and associated learning materials, which includes focussing on encountering and dealing safely with vulnerable rural road users such as cyclists, horses and horse riders.

Practical Test:

The DVSA is about to conclude a two year trial that aims to make the practical driving test more reflective of a real life driving journey.

Proposals include:

- expanding test routes to incorporate higher risk rural roads where statistically new drivers are more likely to be involved in crashes, which will test a candidate's ability to deal with vulnerable road users such as cyclists, horses and horse riders.

- extending the period of independent driving from 10 to 20 minutes and the introduction of the use of satellite navigation for this period, which will further test a candidate's ability to cope with distraction.

All road users are required to comply with road traffic law, in the interests of their own safety and that of other road users. If road users do not adopt a responsible attitude, or if their use of the highway creates an unsafe environment or causes nuisance, there are already laws in place that can make them liable for prosecution.

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