23/09/2005

Lack of driver education to blame for fatal accidents

A lack of driver education is to blame for fatal accidents on motorways according to a report by an insurance company.

Direct Line, the UK's largest car insurer, is calling for changes to the driving test to include education on motorway driving due to a rise in the number of accidents involving heavy goods vehicles (HGV). Fatal accidents involving HGVs are becoming more common with statistics showing a 19% increase year on year.

One in five motorists rush to overtake lorries because they feel intimidated and don't know how to adapt their driving around bigger vehicles.

Government data shows there were more than 6,000 accidents involving HGVs in 2003, resulting in the deaths of 166 motorists and close to 8,000 casualties.

Two million drivers admit they are unsure about how to drive around large vehicles and seven in 10 motorists would welcome driving test reforms to include training on how to drive around lorries and other large vehicles.

The most common way of reacting towards lorries is hesitating around the vehicle.

The present practical driving test does not include driving on the motorway at all and it is up to the driving test examiners discretion as to whether learners are tested on dual carriageways.

Direct Line Motor spokesperson, Emma Holyer said: "More than a quarter of UK motorists don't like driving on the motorway - and encountering large vehicles at high speed simply reinforces this anxiety. Indecisive driving increases the risk of accidents – and we would urge nervous motorists to take extra driving lessons or take an advanced driving test to help build up their confidence.

"Direct Line is calling on the Driving Standards Agency to ensure the driving test always include motorway driving in a bid to reduce the number of fatalities on the nation's roads."

Motorists who are concerned about their driving could also take the Pass Plus test. This one-day course is designed by the Driving Standards Agency, insurers and the driving instruction industry and helps motorists drive with more confidence.

(CD/SP)

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