HC Deb 09 November 1987 vol 122 c12
11. Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has received the report on the future of the driving test; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

I hope to receive a report on the Department's examination of ways of improving the efficiency of the testing system in the next few days.

Mr. Allen

Will the Minister take this opportunity to deny that he is going to privatise the driving test, and ensure that there are sufficient inspectors to undertake it, especially in view of the problems that the trade unions believe there will be with this extension?

Mr. Bottomley

The hon. Gentleman and I play in the same football team, Mr. Speaker.

I do not think the hon. Gentleman would expect me to prejudge the report. I should be surprised if the trade unions and driving instructors would either. We want better value for money and better services for the customers. Half the 2 million tests conducted each year are taken by people who have already failed the first time. If people prepare themselves properly for the first test, more of them will pass and there will be less of a queue.

Mr. Holt

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is not necessary to have a report to know that it is common sense that people should have a secondary test after they have passed the basic test before they are allowed to drive on the major motorways? It is foolish to allow people who have merely passed in daylight on slack roads to go out on major motorways and compete with the traffic thereon. The Government should do something about that now and not wait for any report.

Mr. Bottomley

My hon. Friend will be interested to know that at about the age of 24 people start to have more accidents and injuries on motorways than on other roads. Most accidents on motorways happen to so-called experienced drivers—usually the 90 per cent. of us who regard ourselves as being in the top 10 per cent. of those with driving skills.