Parents say 17 is too young to drive

More than a third of parents think that the minimum driving age of 17 is too young and should be increased, according to a survey by Asda Money.

The poll showed that as many as 62 per cent of 1,054 parents believed that 17-year olds aren’t old enough to fully understand the dangers of driving, while 58 per cent said they weren’t responsible.

Furthermore, a mere eight per cent thought that the current driving test adequately equips teenagers with the knowledge and practical ability needed for the reality of driving on the roads.

Driving test ‘not fit for purpose’

Michael Turner, head of Asda Money insurance, said: “For any parent, seeing their children drive off for the first time is a worrying thought, particularly as the majority don’t believe that the driving test is fit for purpose.

“It remains to be seen whether young drivers are given the right skills to handle the realities of our roads and clearly more needs to be done to make sure they can handle difficult driving conditions.”

Parents said that the test fails to educate young drivers on the dangers of travelling long distances, driving on motorways and abroad, and travelling in the car with other passengers.

As well as that, a major fear amongst respondents was that younger drivers aren’t adequately prepared to cope with bad weather, particularly in snowy, icy and foggy conditions.

However, AA president Edmund King said that increasing the age limit for drivers “would simply delay the problem instead of attempting to solve it”.

Echoing the sentiments of other motoring organisations, he said that road safety should be taught in schools from an early age to change the learning process and prepare children sooner.

Practical exam shake-up

The DVSA recently announced that the practical driving exam is due to be shaken up as part of a series of major revisions to ensure that the test prepares drivers as well as it can for life on the roads.

Changes to the exam include axing manoeuvres like the three-point turn and reversing round a corner, while the use of sat-nav systems as an alternative to road signs will also be introduced.

In total, 20 test centres around the UK will trial the new test from April this year before a revamped version of the practical test is introduced, possibly as early as this time next year.