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Driving Tests

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) original estimate was and (b) most recent estimate is of the cost of the planned driving test supercentres. (85823)

The costs of the Multi-Purpose Test Centres project were originally estimated at £60 million; the latest version of the business case shows that they have reduced to £55 million.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made with the programme of new driving test supercentres; how many are planned; how many are open; in which locations; and what the timetable is for future sites for which land purchases are required. (85824)

A total of 68 Multi-Purpose Test Centres (MPTCs) are planned throughout England, Wales and Scotland. To date, sites have been acquired for seven new MPTCs at Shrewsbury, Newport, East Lothian, Gloucester, Ipswich, Upminster and Swansea.

Nineteen sites are forecast to become operational before 31 March 2007. None of the new test centres has yet opened, but the centre at Quedgeley in Gloucester will become operational during September 2006.

All the remaining sites are planned to be operational by October 2008. This will meet the implementation date of the European Community Directive 2000/56/EC.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many driving test appointments were (a) kept, (b) cancelled by the test centre and (c) cancelled by those taking the test in each of the last five years (i) in total and (ii) broken down by (A) region and (B) test centre. (85811)

The following table shows the number of driving test appointments kept and cancelled by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) for the last five years, for each DSA region and nationally. We do not hold records of volumes of tests cancelled at test centre level or those cancelled by customers.

Applications

Cancelled

Kept

2001-02

Nationally

1,504,892

21,469

1,483,423

London

359,256

7,018

352,238

Midlands

396,310

6,307

390,003

Wales

264,601

3,215

261,386

Northern

365,006

3,964

361,042

Scotland

120,042

965

119,077

2002-03

Nationally

1,633,249

32,404

1,600,845

London

375,495

5,783

369,712

Midlands

436,990

14,211

422,779

Wales

295,995

4,371

291,624

Northern

396,944

6,811

390,133

Scotland

127,825

1,228

126,597

2003-04

Nationally

1,483,423

56,222

1,427,201

London

352,238

12,134

340,104

Midlands

390,003

21,461

368,542

Wales

261,386

7,116

254,270

Northern

361,042

13,826

347,216

Scotland

119,077

1,685

117,392

2004-05

Nationally

2,019,042

50,921

1,968,121

London

449,034

20,390

428,644

Midlands

546,874

13,411

533,463

Wales

362,470

5,261

357,209

Northern

518,532

11,144

507,388

Scotland

142,132

715

141,417

2005-06

Nationally

2,184,289

43,391

2,140,898

London

490,474

18,733

471,741

Midlands

585,842

10,233

575,609

Wales

399,346

6,441

392,905

Northern

548,673

6,737

541,936

Scotland

159,954

1,247

158,707

All test types are included, except for 2003-04 and 2005-06 when Approved Driving Instructor qualifying tests are excluded. This is because DSA’s targets for keeping appointments did not distinguish between test types in the other years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the costs associated with the cancellation of a driving test appointment. (85812)

During the year 2005-06, the average compensation payment made by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) for cancelling a car test was about £35. The total paid in compensation was some £311,000.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Driving Standards Agency on the hazard perception test; and if he will place in the Library copies of correspondence with the agency in relation to this issue. (85807)

Department for Transport Ministers have frequent meetings with Driving Standards Agency officials, as with officials from other parts of the Department, to discuss a range of issues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has conducted into the effectiveness of the hazard perception test as part of the driving test. (85809)

In advance of the introduction of the hazard perception test the Department commissioned extensive research, including the following:

1998—The effects of hazard perception training on the development of novice driver skills. DETR Road Safety Research Report No. 4.

2000—Novice drivers’ safety. DETR Road Safety Research Series No.2.

2002—The development of hazard perception testing. TRL Report TRL558.

Copies of the two DETR reports have been placed in the Libraries of the House. All reports are available from the DfT website (www.dt.gov.uk).

The Department is currently conducting further research which will evaluate the effectiveness of the hazard perception test.