§ Mrs. Gorman
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if the annual report and accounts of the Driver Testing and Training Organisation for the last financial year are yet available; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
Copies of the Driver Testing and Training Organisation's annual report for 1987–88 have today been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
We welcome the progress noted in the report towards tight management control of unit costs and reduced waiting times for L-tests. The organisation has been set targets to achieve further improvements during the current year and to provide a better all-round service for its 2 million customers.
To help shorten waiting times, Saturday morning tests were introduced in September for a trial period at selected centres. Seven of the 11 regional driver test booking centres are now fully computerised. Once the new systems have settled down, this should mean a better service for customers, particularly when it comes to telephone inquiries.
As from 24 October, the eight-test day recommended in the 1985 review of occupational stress among driving examiners has come into effect. This major improvement in working conditions was made possible by co-operation between management and staff representatives to identify time-saving compensating changes in working arrangements.
Too many candidates take the test too soon. One in two fail. Driving should be learned not just to pass the test, but as an essential skill for life.
Good training and an effective driver testing system are key elements in helping to equip new drivers on Britain's busy roads to cope with the conditions they will find there. It continues to be the overriding objective of the Driver Testing and Training Organisation to contribute cost-effectively to their reduction in road casualties.