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Mike Waters' blog: 22nd July: An international approach

Date: 22 July 2014

Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.

When it comes to motoring best practices, there is a lot that we can learn from other countries. Whether its infrastructure, road charging or use of technology, it seems crazy to reinvent the wheel when you can simply look to other methods and cherry pick the most effective.

A topical example is the potential for graduated driving licenses. Already in place in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, a study from the RAC Foundation suggests that hundreds of lives a year could be saved if such a system were adopted.

They advocate a three stage approach: stage 1 means that learners must drive for longer before taking the test and would complete a one-year minimum driving period. During this time they would need to experience a wide range of conditions, including winter and nigh time driving.

Stage 2 would come after the test is taken when drivers would face restrictions for a further year (for example the number of passengers they could carry). Stage 3 would then involve a further two-year probationary period, and if they picked up penalty points in that time, new drivers could be asked to re-take their test.

The statistics are conclusive; they show that young drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident. But any new driver, irrespective of their age, will need a 'bedding-in' period as they build their experience and become more streetwise.

The RAC Foundation seem to be onto something with this. Although it puts more pressure on new drivers, and elongates the learning experience for them, it ensures that they are prepared to be on the roads and not just prepared to pass a test. These proposals should also help to make inexperienced drivers think before they act behind the wheel.

Attitude and behaviours when driving make a huge difference. Whether you have 20 years of driving under your belt or 20 days, the approach that you take can significantly reduce the chances that you will be involved in an accident. Initiatives like this work in other countries so it would be wrong of us not to consider them in the UK.

Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.