Saw this in the Telegraph today about the new Theory Test (for motorists)
On September 15 we published one of the new questions from the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) theory test for learner drivers: When approaching a tunnel it is good advice to:
Put on your sunglasses.
Check tyre pressures.
Change to a lower gear.
Tune your radio to a local channel.
Passing the £28.50 test could depend on choosing the "correct" answer, which is to retune your radio. But reader Adrian Carey was as puzzled as we were. The Highway Code (see Section 148) warns against such distractions, and even if you know the local radio frequency you can't receive the signal in a tunnel.
Mr Carey's correspondence with the DSA has failed to produce an explanation, although the following was received from a man in the policy department: Dear Mr Carey, I apologise for your difficulty getting this question answered. I will forward your email onto the Head of Correspondence for DSA. However, even though it is not my domain, I believe I know the answer. The requirement for this Theory Test question comes from an EU Directive.
The background is that DSA was asked to do this after the St Gothard and Mont Blanc tunnel fires in the late 1990s, in which a number of people lost their lives. After this, radio transmitters were placed in road traffic tunnels. If a driver were to tune their radio to the correct frequency, they would be warned of any fires or other dangerous occurrences in tunnels. This is because drivers may not be able to get out of tunnels in time if they were not forewarned.
The contradiction between the Highway Code and this question is because we have few, if any, road traffic tunnels in the UK, and it is more a Continental concern.
So now we know. Thank goodness the DSA is working hard to improve British driving standards. Perhaps we should also install speed cameras at Britain's "few, if any" tunnels* and fine anyone who exceeds the limit while fiddling with the radio in search of Smashey and… (white noise to fade).
For the DSA's benefit, UK road tunnels exceeding 1km include: Mersey Queensway (3,237m), Mersey Kingsway (2,438m), Limehouse Link (1,800m), Thames Rotherhithe (1,705m), Tyne (1,645m), Thames Dartford (1,436m), A1(M) Hatfield (1,400m), Thames Blackwall North (1,362m), Thames Blackwall