Government drops graduated driving licence plans

The focus will be on a new curriculum to teach learners how to deal with a range of road and weather conditions.

Roads minister Baroness Vere has said that the Department for Transport is not progressing work on graduated driving licences (GDLs).

She told MPs that this is partly due to the potential impact of restrictions on young people’s employment.

Instead the focus will be on a new curriculum to teach learners how to deal with a range of road and weather conditions. This was due to begin trials in January.

Learners will be taught how to drive in the dark and while distracted. A logbook in which learners document their driving may also be introduced.

The logbook would need to include evidence of a learner having driven in rain and different types of roads in order to pass.

The new system is designed to reduce the number of serious accidents involving young and novice drivers.

Drivers aged 25 and under make up around 7% of licence holders yet cause 16% of serious and fatal crashes.

Speaking to the Transport Committee, Baroness Vere said: “What will happen is that there will be various modules – one driving in adverse conditions, one driving after dark, one at high speed [and] one of distracted driving.

“It should be a very organised and well-evidenced way of going through the entire undertaking of learning to drive, and it must focus on the areas people find most difficult.”

26 thoughts on “Government drops graduated driving licence plans”

  1. Julie Winton

    This sounds like the Pass Plus, driving on all sorts of roads but ADIs will not want to extend their working days in the summer until past 10 pm to get some darkness, nor can all instructors access motorways eg Cornwall. This is all great in theory but, as always, not much thought has been given to how it will be delivered by those who actually do the work!

  2. Julie Sampson

    This sounds like the Pass Plus, driving on all sorts of roads but ADIs will not want to extend their working days in the summer until past 10 pm to get some darkness, nor can all instructors access motorways eg Cornwall. This is all great in theory but, as always, not much thought has been given to how it will be delivered by those who actually do the work!

    1. Howard Redwood

      You are missing the point. In order to drive in all weather conditions their training will have to be spread across all four seasons, not just in the summer and be taught as a ‘fair weather’ driver, which seems to be the case at the moment.

      1. Karen Sendall

        I totally agree with that statement of ideas on training.
        I have thought for a long time that driving should be in line with other examination formats, standardised modules to be completed and not just drive to pass the test and that will do!….
        The final sign off can still be done by the examiner.
        The only impact I can see would be for intensive courses (done in a week!)
        At no point does It state that ‘driving at high speeds’ involves a motorway?…..Dual carriage and motorways are the same speed anyway!?…

  3. It’s also worth discussing about the subjects of giving lifts to your friends. As a responsible ADULT.
    The honest truth about safer Driving (
    Useful information for young drivers. MY CAR MY RULES.
    No smoking
    No loud music to distract
    No speeding unnecessarily to impress friends.
    No drink Driving etc

  4. Yet another daft idea from the so called geniuses of road knowledge who sit in their ivory towers all day without consulting those of us who have to teach these daft ideas.
    It’s rather like the right reverse idea that its going to make everyone safer drivers because they can reverse 2 car lengths on the right side of the road against the highway code rules.

    “Now Mary let’s see what we can distract you with whilst I can teach you how to drive safely, I know how about you apply you’re makeup in the mirror and we can see how we can do so whilst driving safely at the same time.
    Oh and when you can do this safely in daylight we can also go out at 10.30pm and try it in the dark too”
    Time for me to look for another job I think!!

    1. Well said Linda

      Clowns and do- gooders in charge need to have a look at the real world and maybe spend time being a driving instructor, then and only then can they be trusted to make decisions for us

  5. Most of us instructors teach this already.
    It would be a much better idea to have post test training in a classroom like the speed awareness course. We have already dropped skid pan training because it makes drivers over confident in those conditions.

  6. What on earth do they mean by ‘ Distracted driving’ ? Would that be a lesson with the pupils driving whilst l sit on the back seat singing, or perhaps playing a musical instrument? Of course this would need to be at 11pm on a July evening to make it realistic. Sounds like another box ticking way of teaching people to drive. Just like the standards check.

  7. Chris Griffin

    The only real way to do this is extent examiner days to 10pm and have them work in ice conditions. At the moment one flake of snow or ice build up on the verge of a road and the test is canceled. Seems one rule for test and another for instructors. If we teach in these conditions, then the test should be conducted in those conditions.

  8. David Carter

    Driving in the rain – great, if the training message goes further than “1.6mm across…” and talks about how the tread’s functional performance varies at a point earlier than 1.6mm … and is given by ADI’s a little bit more effectively than just 15 minutes before the test (that’s a common response I get from young FLH’s”).

  9. I already do all this except dark driving in the summer.
    How you control them when they pass and have a car full of mates is the problem

  10. Taniya Keoghan

    I feel that this is a retrograde step. The Driving Test is already at a high standard and Driving Instructors already work unsocial hours. In the summer you will now be expected to work even longer hours to achieve driving in the dark – the further North you go, the later I becomes dark. The onus is being put on Driving Instructors to provide this service. Log books can be falsified! Many of the serious accidents which occur amongst the young drivers is driven by testosterone and peer pressure (males are far more likely to have these types of accidents than females). A Graduated Licence, combined with compulsory ‘Black Box’ technology would do far more good in reducing these accidents.

  11. Although I welcome the Govt giving up on graduated licencing, I dread to think how they will (mis) manage these new proposals. As has been said above it sounds a bit like Pass Plus and that was so badly managed it is now practically non existent. But before trying something “new” let’s have a proper review of the time, effort and money thrown away on the last changes to the test (pull up on right etc) AND the extent (if any) of improvements in post test crash statistics. When those changes were being pushed through I’m sure DVSA were quoting some measurable improvement being the goal – although I seem to recall they went a bit quiet on that front as implementation proceeded. Before some new scheme is pushed through, proper trials must be held and unless there is evidence of improved safety there is no point in doing it.
    Maybe we need to accept that post test we lose influence over how new inexperienced drivers behave. But we could make the test more demanding by simply extending its duration by 15 or 20 minutes. I have no doubt that a significant number of test successes are down to luck, but I don’t know to what extent that may contribute to post test incidents; research needed. We could tighten the 6-point rule and make it a legal requirement that a new driver involved in any bump/crash has to take the test again. (That may be a bit late as the first crash may be the fatal one, but if they manage to avoid killing someone first time, it might stop them having another go!) Govt could work with the insurance industry to substantially reward safe drivers. That could be taken further such that to earn the reward/discount an “advanced” test needed to be passed. (I doubt that the current insurance favourite of having a black box fitted is achieving much.)
    There must be lots of meaningful things ADIs could come up with to help, but I’m not convinced these latest ideas from Govt will do anything other than keep some bureaucrats employed.

  12. Baroness Verve’s new curriculum in part is for the birds! I already teach in the dark…but in the morning from 5am, I have no intention of working beyond 3pm! I already teach adverse weather lessons, but I can’t conjure up weather conditions unless Vere thinks all ADI’s are graduates of Hogwarts Driving Academy! I already teach students to drive safely at high speed, what I won’t do is stupidly teach people to drive while distracted! What does Vere expect me to do, a lesson in putting on makeup whilst driving, a crossword, knitting, ooooh what about a karaoke! I have a better idea, if Vere wants to make the roads safer, just introduce a standards Driving check Test every five years for all drivers to encourage safer driving! Would love to see Vere supervising a learner who is attempting to do a shoe lace up while driving at 70mph!

  13. Charles Taylor

    Forgery will be rife. The ideas proposed seem as usual to be from people with little practical knowledge of the art of teaching people to drive. Yes we all teach people at night in the winter but I can’t see many ADIs going out at 10pm in the summer – totally unrealistic. How would you deal with someone who comes to you in May who has a lot of experience, nothing in their log book and has a test booked for July? Tell them to come back in November so that you can take them out at a civilised hour? Let’s be honest they will say goodbye to you, forge their logbook and take their test anyway in their mate’s car. After nearly 40 years in the job I think its time to shut up shop and stack shelves in Tesco until pension time.

  14. Andrew Brown

    They should only allow ADI’s to teach. School of mummy & daddy scrapped. A mandatory type of Pass Plus course to be completed during 2 year probationary period to keep their licence. No passenger’s carried during probationary period.

  15. Kevin Williams

    I’d like to see something evidence-based. It’s easy to roll out the old line that “Drivers aged 25 and under make up around 7% of licence holders yet cause 16% of serious and fatal crashes”, but is there any evidence they crash in ‘difficult’ conditions? The instinctive reaction to difficult driving conditions is to be more cautious and more alert.

    An EU (remember them?) report from 2015 found that novice drivers:

    “…have relatively more single-vehicle crashes (mostly due to loss of control) and head-on collisions. Young novice drivers are also over-represented in crashes on intersections. They share this over-representation of crashes on intersections with drivers of 70 years of age and older (Clarke, 2006). With regard to the day of the week and the time of the day young novice drivers are in particularly over-represented in crashes in weekend nights after midnight”.

    This also makes for interesting reading: “Several attempts have been made to understand why young novice drivers have such a high crash rate and are over-represented in the previously mentioned types of crashes on the basis of police crash reports. However, the results are inconclusive. Some of these studies conclude that crashes involving young novice drivers are mainly caused by inexperience such as lack of hazard perception, unintended driving too fast for the circumstances and distraction (McKnight,2003; Curry, 2001) and other studies conclude after having analyzed the police reports that most of the crashes involving young novice drivers are caused by deliberate risk taking (the age factor) such as intended speeding and drink driving (Clarke, 2006, 2005). However, police reports are probably an insufficiently reliable source to decide if crashes are the result of intentional risk-taking or, for instance, of insufficient hazard anticipation skills.”

    This implies that a significant chunk of the problem is the ‘Locus of Control’ factor – the degree to which young drivers believe that they, as opposed to external forces which are beyond their control, are determining the outcome of any driving decision. How do you teach that? As a motorcycle instructor I know very well that many riders simply don’t believe they’ll crash… until they do. And the more training they have, the less they believe they COULD crash.

    At least some of the loss-of-control crashes could be vehicle-related – new drivers are usually restricted by budget to old models, that were often lower-specc’d when they were new. They’re likely to fit budget tyres and other parts for the same reason. Maybe we should be looking at the vehicle, rather than blaming the driver (again).

    As for intersection collisions, these are by far and away the most common crash in terms of % of all crashes. But how do we learn to avoid them? Maybe it’s experience!

  16. A genuine question. How can these new logbooks be real evidence of the said tasks being completed when there is currently no legal obligation to even have driving lessons with an approved instructor, would a friend or whoever is teaching you be trusted to fill it in honestly, or is that rule changing too?.
    As for distracted driving, I thought we spent our vast majority of the time teaching how to be focused and not be distracted in the first place.

  17. While I agree in principle that more work needs to be done to reduce accidents I’m not sure this is the right way to do it. Personally I feel we need additional lessons after a person has passed, based on how many driver faults were received on the test.

    The insurance companies pay for it, with premiums also being based on the driving test. This way the drivers gaining the least number of faults have less follow up lessons and have lower premiums.

    Also skid pan training should be compulsory. Finally, 15 driver faults is way too many, any more than 10 should be a fail, and even that is being generous.

  18. They’re learning to drive in the UK so they will drive in the rain. Distractions? what does that mean? Should we dress as clowns and sound a comedy horn every 5 minutes? and as others have pointed out, driving in the dark is not an option for many during the summer months while others will have all their lessons in the dark – do they need to have special driving in the light lessons? another ill thought out plan so no surprises there

  19. Peter Hurley

    I keep a book on all my pupils that works very well for me because I have designed it myself for my own use. A book kept by the pupil with Dad’s signature on tasks covered will be a nightmare, especially when they turn up without it!

    I cannot see pupils paying enough to cover the cost of this new plan. I know people who earn £65.00 per hour and get a company van begrudge £20.00 per hour when you do a load of paperwork and have to keep an ill treated vehicle in top condition. There are also a lot of people on the minimum wage who need their driving licence and I believe should get help that would make it possible for instructors to get a reasonable wage as well.

  20. I would have thought a better Idea would be. Compulsory basic training with an ADI for a minimum of 10 hours before you are allowed out with the school of mum and dad. Just like motorcycle CBT. Every learner should have to do every manoeuvre on test much fairer than just the one. scrap the pointless sat nav too easy mine struggle far more with reading road signs

  21. I think the test should be one hour a maximum of six minors and bring back the turn in the road and the left reverse also anything that would be realistic, skills for life and yes make the pass plus mandatory within the first two years of driving post test then back to the test centre to take the pass plus test by an examiner not ADI’s

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