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Road Traffic (Driving Instruction) Act 1984

Volume 82: debated on Monday 1 July 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport when the Road Traffic (Driving Instruction) Act 1984 will be implemented.

Most of the provisions of the Act were introduced on 20 May 1985. Section 1 has yet to be implemented. We expect to bring this remaining provision, which relates to the identification of driving instructors, into operation later this year.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. What benefits have flowed from the Act so far? What will be her reaction to the Driving Instructors Association's seven-point plan for road safety, which will not only save lives but an estimated £2,000 million?

Those elements of the Act already in operation are that all new trainees should be partly qualified before they are allowed to give any tuition—which will be under a minimum of one fifth, 20 per cent., supervision—that they must complete their qualifications within six months and that they will not be allowed to extend their trainee licence for a further six months. They will have to take up special training, and there will be tighter direct personal supervision of the trainees, which is very important. The identification cards are to follow. As regards the representations made by the Driving Instructors Association, my officials have recently met the association for detailed discussion, and I am giving detailed consideration to its proposals.

Does my hon. Friend accept that there is concern on the Conservative Benches that, as a result of implementation, there may be even more generous donations to the Liberal party by the British School of Motoring? Taking this into consideration—

May I then ask my hon. Friend to urge on those driving schools that contribute to political parties that they should show that on the windscreens of their cars?

That must be a matter for the individual driving school. Our concern is better driving and fewer accidents. I hope that everybody's concern in driving instruction will be first and foremost to give the best possible tuition to learner drivers. If that means fewer resources for their political protegees, we might have better drivers.

When the Minister meets the Driving Instructors Association this afternoon, will she give sympathetic consideration to extending the regulations even further so that the proposal put forward by my colleague in the other place, supported by the Government's spokesman for transport there and members of the Labour party, that instructors should be trained to teach, will soon be part of the regulations, in addition to what the hon. Lady has provided for so far?

Our training is training to teach, and certain comments recorded in Hansard in the other place are not quite correct. I am concerned to see that we get the best possible standard of tuition, because with that, and with better enforcement of the law through the penalty points system, we shall have better driving and fewer accidents on our roads. That is what we want to achieve. Any suggestions will always be looked at carefully in that light.