Calls for compulsory rural driving lessons for learner drivers

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Road safety charity calls for drastic changes to be made in lessons in order to combat road collisions

Road safety charity Brake has today called for the government to look into the implementation of compulsory driving lessons on rural roads.

The charity contend these changes would reduce the number of road fatalities and serious injuries which occur while driving. In 2015 alone, 120 young drivers lost their lives on the UK’s roads – 80% of these in rural locations.

In comparison, 16% of incidents occurred on urban roads, and only 4% occurred on motorways. According to Brake, this highlights a pressing issue which should be addressed by the authorities.

Jason Wakeford, Director of Campaigns for Brake, commented: "High speeds, sharp bends, narrow lanes, risky overtaking and the presence of vulnerable road users like cyclists, make rural roads the most dangerous by far.

“Brake is calling for a total overhaul of the learning to drive system to help cut fatalities and injuries. A graduated licensing system, including a minimum learning period, mandatory training on rural roads and restrictions for newly-qualified drivers - such as a zero drink-drive limit - will allow new drivers to build up more skills and experience over a longer period of time.”

If adopted, this approach could see the UK following in the footsteps of countries such as Australia and New Zealand. According to the charity, these countries have seen a dramatic reduction in recent road casualties after the implementation of similar schemes. They contend 400 lives a year could be saved.

Part of this project could see a review of rural speed limits, as well as the introduction of a 'Voluntary Intelligent Speed Adaptation' which helps drivers keep within the speed limit, which would be fitted to new cars.

This news comes alongside recent government reforms announced this month, which require young drivers to take part of their lessons on motorway roads.

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