Source: Intelligent Instructor
Petition gains momentum in bid to reduce aggression toward learner drivers
A campaign launched to enforce harsher penalties on those who abuse learner drivers and instructors has topped 10,000 signatures. Set up by young driver insurer Marmalade, they have now received Parliamentary backing.
The petition has also gained industry support from the ADI National Joint Council (ADINJC), the Driving Instructor Association (DIA) and insurance giant Ageas amongst others.
It was inspired by a report published by Marmalade. Figures show that abuse and intimidation towards learner drivers is on the rise. Shockingly, 59% of driving instructors say the problem has increased since the start of the pandemic.
Every four in five learner drivers (81%) have experienced abuse and intimidation from other road users while driving. A whopping 99% of driving instructors have witnessed abuse directed at their pupils.
The petition currently has more than 10,200 signatures and has been supported by MP for Liverpool, Walton, Dan Carden.
Mr Carden described the abuse learner drivers have experienced as “unacceptable”. Many of his constituents who have signed the petition. They want to see learners treated with “patience and kindness”.
Charles Moffat, chair of the ADI National Joint Council says “The ADINJC fully and firmly supports the campaign”.
He adds that “[ADINJC] members and their pupils are only too familiar with the stresses and dangers that it all too frequently causes.”
Moffat is calling on “as many driving instructors as possible, their pupils and members of the public to join in”.
Meanwhile, the Department for Transport says: “The Government is committed to road safety, by identifying and prosecuting the few who make our roads less safe. Aggravating factors are set out in the sentencing guidelines.
“The Government keeps road traffic offences under review, and the Department for Transport is planning to publish a call for evidence on motoring offences.”
Undermining learning and safety
Marmalade’s report found intimidation is leading to an increase in errors on the road. It found that 72% of instructors see learners making more mistakes following abuse on the roads.
Furthermore, 68% of learners report they’ve become more nervous on the roads, 12% have stopped driving for an extended period of time, with 8% giving up altogether.
Adam Beckett, Chief Distribution Officer Ageas Insurance Ltd describes this type of behaviour as “really dangerous”.
Carly Brookfield, Chief Executive of the Driving Instructors Association added that the petition “brought to light an important issue, both in terms of road safety and in terms of safeguarding those who can be deemed vulnerable road users, e.g. learner and novice drivers”.
While the DfT acknowledged the government has noted the report, if the petition reaches 100,000 signatures it means the matter will be debated in Parliament.