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Failed driving tests cost UK learners £52m a year

UK learner drivers are spending over £52 million a year on re-sitting their driving test, according to research by RED Driving School, the UK’s largest driving school.

Taking just two additional lessons to become test ready after failing a driving test would mean learners across the UK are spending a further £36 million bringing the total cost to £88 million. If a learner fails to pass their driving test the second time this figure can escalate dramatically. However, learners can increase the chance of passing their test by using technology.

As a result, to improve the chance of passing the driving test by 14 per cent* and to develop safer drivers in the long term, RED Driving School is encouraging young learner drivers to ‘road train their brain.’

Today sees the launch of ‘Get Road REDdy’, a campaign to encourage people to recognise the need for cognitive skill development to complement practical driving tuition, using the most up to date technology. It is well known that new and young drivers are at a high risk on our roads, with one in five experiencing a crash within their first year of driving.**

Campaign ambassador, reality TV star, Sam Faiers said “I am supporting the Get Road REDdy campaign as it’s giving an important message to young people about what’s involved when it comes to better, safer driving. Through working with RED I have realised that driving responsibly is not just about how well you handle the car with your hands and feet. It has a lot to do with how the brain is trained and reacts to certain situations that you face when driving.

“The number of road deaths involving young people is a serious issue that needs our attention. It’s great to see a driving school, which is responsible for training so many learner drivers, recognise that there is a need to do something differently. I hope that by raising awareness of this campaign, we can make our roads safer.”

Scientific research has revealed that the frontal lobe of the brain, which is the part responsible for anticipating danger, emotion, impulse, eye movement and assessing risk, doesn’t fully develop until a young person is around the age of 25***, but this can be improved if they ‘road train their brain’ during the driving tuition period.

Ian McIntosh, CEO at RED Driving School said: “The number of road casualties involving young people is a major issue, which we feel needs to be tackled during the learning to drive process through the training of better drivers. Research shows that there are genuine scientific reasons why young people are less likely to anticipate danger and assess risk and we want to do what we can to help develop this ability as much as we possible.”

“Practical driving tuition is just one part of becoming a safe driver – how the learner views the road and assesses the risks presented to them is just as important. The main goal of our ‘Get Road REDdy’ campaign is to raise awareness of this and that’s why we are the first driving school in the UK to provide all of our learners with direct access to free of charge high tech e-learning tools to develop their cognitive driving skills.”

“We are responsible for developing the next generation of better, safer drivers so it’s vital that we embrace new technology and modern learning methods aimed at reducing the risks of post – test accidents for new drivers.”

In 19 out of 20 crashes, poor attitude and behaviour rather than a lack of vehicle handling skills**** are to blame. The no cost e-learning tools, know as RED’s Road Brain Trainer, provide education around the high levels of concentration needed when driving. The modules, which equate to seven hours of free training, are aimed at developing driving awareness, coping with in-car distractions such as music and technology, improving observations and avoiding crashes.

McIntosh continued: “Research has revealed that RED’s Road Brain Trainer not only helps students to meet the requirements of the UK theory test but also increases the chance of passing the practical driving test by 14 per cent. While the focus has to be on creating safer drivers in the longer term, the fact that the learning to drive period can be reduced is good news for young people who are faced with the ever-rising costs of getting on the road.”

“It is important to remember that safer driving also leads to more fuel efficient and economical driving through reducing petrol costs and vehicle wear and tear. With the introduction of black box technology, safer driving can also pay in the longer term by lowering the cost of insurance.”

Notes to Editors
* Dr Lisa Dorn, Reader in Driver Behaviour, Cranfield University.
** Department for Transport.
*** Dr Robert Isler, Neuroscientist, University of Waikato, NZ.
**** Dr Lisa Dorn, Reader in Driver Behaviour, Cranfield University.