Fleet News

Training targets at-work drivers

Motorists who drive for work are to be targeted as part of an overhaul of the learner driver system.

The chief executive of the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), Rosemary Thew, has confirmed that she is planning to focus on fleet drivers as part of the agency’s policy to offer at-work drivers continual development throughout their careers.

The DSA is at the centre of a Department for Transport plan to radically reshape the way new drivers learn.

However, the plan stretches beyond new drivers and will have an additional focus on developing drivers’ skills after they have qualified.

“We need to do more to help drivers develop and maintain standards for life, especially for those driving for work,” explained Ms Thew.

“It’s about attitude, knowledge and exposure to driving on the road.

“Our driving instructors do a very good job but the existing system no longer reflects the demands of the modern world.”

The proposals, which will be open to public consultation, will be published in the coming weeks and follow the announcement of a comprehensive review of driver training in January by the then transport minister, Stephen Ladyman.

The Government’s focus on motorists who drive for work means fleet drivers can expect to be targeted in the coming months.

It will complement a campaign by the DfT, which is also aimed at improving the safety record of at-work drivers.

“One-third of all fatalities are work related and this element has been under-estimated in the past,” said Ms Thew.

“We need to address drivers’ attitudes towards driving throughout their driving career.”

The DSA chief executive said the approach would also need employers’ cooperation.

“We need continued learning modules – for example, driving for work. Employers now have a responsibility so we are looking at raising awareness and ensuring that employers have the tools they need,” she said.

Ms Thew outlined a four-strand approach, covering education, training, testing and driving for life.

“A fundamental overhaul of the driving test and learning process is now needed if new drivers are to be adequately equipped to drive safely on our busy roads.”

Ms Thew said the consultation exercise is an opportunity for all stakeholders to contribute. “There does seem to be a genuine feeling of a need for change,” she said.

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