MPs TELL TRANSPORT SECRETARY TO ‘GET A GRIP’ OVER LONDON BRIDGE PROBLEMS / DRIVER WITH 40 PENALTY POINTS – BUT HAS NEVER HELD A LICENCE / DRIVING TEST NEEDS OVERHAUL SAY INSTITUTE
MPs TELL TRANSPORT SECRETARY TO ‘GET A GRIP’ OVER LONDON BRIDGE PROBLEMS
A DELEGATION OF MPs has met transport secretary Patrick Mcloughlin and urged him to “step in and get a grip of the failing management” at London Bridge station.
MPs Tessa Jowell (Dulwich and West Norwood), Jim Dowd (Lewisham West and Penge), Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham), and Sadiq Khan (Tooting) – all from affected constituencies – were accompanied by Labour’s London Assembly transport spokeswoman Val Shawcross (GLA member for Lambeth and Southwark).
The delegation also called for “significant compensation” for those commuters affected.
Commenting on the meeting Val Shawcross said: “The meeting with Patrick Mcloughlin was an opportunity to impress upon him just how bad the situation at London Bridge has become.
“I hope we have made him understand the scale of the challenges at London Bridge and that he finally accepts he needs to step in and get a grip of the failing management at the station.
“We also pressed the transport secretary for significant compensation to be given to the passengers affected.
“Having paid thousands of pounds for their tickets commuters have faced consistent chaos, delays and cancellations – it cannot be right that they aren’t being properly compensated for that.
“We have called on the transport secretary to set that right by ensuring fair compensation for everyone who has seen their travel adversely affected.”
(Source: GLA Labour party press release).
DRIVER WITH 40 PENALTY POINTS – BUT HAS NEVER HELD A LICENCE
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has discovered that a motorist from Lewisham has racked up an astounding 40 points for 12 offences despite never having held a full or even a provisional driving licence, according to information supplied by the DVLA in February, following a Freedom of Information request.
The offences include speeding in a 30mph zone and driving without insurance.
The request, which asked for the top 20 highest points holders, also shows two other offenders with no licence.
The second highest penalty points holder without a licence is a male offender from the Stockport area, with 33 penalty points for seven offences – including caught for speeding in a 30mph zone and repeatedly failing to disclose information as to the identity of the driver.
And the third highest penalty points holder driving without a licence is a man from Leeds with 28 penalty points for five offences including driving uninsured against third party risks and driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence.
IAM chief executive Sarah Sillars said: “It’s been three years since the IAM raised this issue with the DVLA, but we still have drivers on the road with multiple points allocated to them.
“Now we discover that some of them have never held any kind of driving licence. “We all have to share the road with these unqualified, uninsured and dangerous drivers.
“We need to punish offenders as well as give them the opportunity to change their ways. “Offenders are unlikely to drive legally if they face a ban or points on their licence as soon as they pass their test.”
England and Wales’ highest points holder continues to be a man from Liverpool who holds 45 penalty points on a full driving licence. He collected six penalty points on three separate occasions for speeding in a 30mph zone.
And another six points on five other occasions because he failed to provide information about the identity of the driver – he carries the same number points today as he did in 2014.
Other notable offenders include a female from Blackburn with 38 penalty points, the third highest points total on record. She has been caught breaking the speed limit in a 30mph zone on 10 different occasions. (Source: IAM press release.)
DRIVING TEST NEEDS OVERHAUL SAY INSTITUTE
As the driving test reaches its 80th anniversary in the UK, Tthe IAM say its time the way we teach new drivers received a comprehensive overhaul to keep it relevant to today’s driving landscape – and to the problems faced by young people on the road.
The Road Traffic Act was passed in 1934; the legislation that paved the way for compulsory driving tests in the UK a year later.
The biggest developments in the driving test came into effect in the past two decades: in 1996 a theory test was added to the practical element. From 2002 learners also had to pass a hazard perception exam.
“But as it stands now, the driving test does not include any testing of a driver’s ability to cope safely with country roads, poor weather or driving at night – three aspects we know are the main risk factors in the first six months of solo driving” say the IAM..
“Road accidents remain the biggest killer of young people in the UK, higher than both alcohol and drugs. In 2013 there were 191 people under 24 killed and 20,003 injured as drivers and riders of cars and motorbikes.
Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “The driving test needs to become a much more integrated part of a graduated licensing system that picks up on best practice from around the world.
“For instance, Austria has a ‘second phase’ licensing system, where young drivers come back in the first 12 months after the test for further interventions to examine attitude changes and skills.”
“Young male driver casualties have dropped by a third in in Austria as a result of the initiative.”
The IAM advocates the following changes to the driver training ‘system’ as part of its manifesto: road safety education to be part of the National Curriculum, support for a minimum learning period prior to taking the practical test, the inclusion of high speed roads in the test itself, support for limits on peer passenger numbers after the test is passed, and a lower drink-drive limit for new drivers.
The IAM also wants to see learner drivers allowed on motorways so they can learn from an expert rather than on their own after passing the test.
Mr Greig added: “The driving test today does test a driver’s ability to a very high level, but it has fallen behind what is urgently needed today in 2015. “This must be addressed as a matter of urgency by the next government.”
He added that the driving test needed to take into account whether the influence of new technology and driver aids such as satellite navigation and cradle-held mobile phones used as navigation devices, should play a part in a 21st century driving test. (Source: IAM press release.)