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Government did not research safety benefit of new riding test

Published: 15 October 2009

No assessment was made of the impact the new riding test would have on casualties, it emerged last week.

Ministers went ahead with drastic changes to the test regime with no indication of how many lives and injuries it would save on the road.

The revelation came as the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and road safety minister Paul Clark were grilled on Wednesday by a committee of MPs conducting a safety investigation of the new test.

Clark and DSA deputy chief examiner Lesley Young appeared to try to dodge questions about evidence by speaking instead about the test’s aims to cut casualties.

Committee Chairman Louise Ellman said: “We’re all agreed on that objective… Has any assessment been made of how many lives will be saved and injuries prevented by the new test?”

Young said: “Well, it can’t be at the moment until we see the end results.”
Ellman replied: "So the answer is it hasn’t.”

Clark was also forces to admit a DfT study which should have guided the design of the new test was yet to be completed.

The test has been dogged by controversy since its introduction in April. It requires candidates to attend new “multi-purpose test centres” which are so few in number that some learners face journeys of over 100 miles to get to one.

The committee is investigating its safety after dozens of learners crashed attempting new manoeuvres.

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