Welcome to Total Drive Industry Round-Up, the place for any need-to-know industry news. Our updates are aimed directly at you, the driving instructors of Britain, and are full of all the things you should know. Here’s what has been going on recently:
RAC calls for dynamic hard shoulders on smart motorways
All lane running should be abandoned on smart motorways in favour of operating ‘dynamic’ hard shoulders, according to the RAC.
The motoring group says that opening the hard shoulder to traffic only at busy times will provide increased capacity when needed, while allowing drivers to pull over during quieter periods.
All lane running should be scrapped entirely, according to six in 10 drivers polled by RAC, with only a quarter supporting current Government policy of having permanent running lanes on smart motorways with no hard shoulder.
“It seems the only thing that will truly satisfy most drivers is the reinstatement of the hard shoulder,” said RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes. He added that allowing dynamic hard shoulder running promises “increased capacity without adversely compromising safety.
“Arguably, all that would be needed is to repaint the solid white hard shoulder line and potentially some additional gantry signs,” he added. “We would also like to see the ‘red X’ closed lane symbol illuminated whenever the hard shoulder is not being used as a running lane alongside variable message signs indicating the hard shoulder is for emergency use only so drivers clearly know it’s not in use.”
That way, he said, there would be no confusion and anyone who has to stop due to a breakdown or incident is likely to be better protected.
Electric cars could deter learners from earning ‘manual’ driving licences
As many as 61% of 17-24 year olds plan to apply for an automatic-only driving licence, according to a survey from road safety charity IAM Roadsmart.
With the looming 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and a downturn in vehicles with a manual gearbox being sold, the days of traditional transmission appear numbered.
Over four-fifths (81%) of the young drivers questioned said they’re ‘very likely’ to purchase an electric vehicle (EV) as their next car. Only 5% said they are unlikely to buy an EV.
According to the RAC’s Report on Motoring 2021, 10% of drivers intend to choose an EV as their next vehicle. This proportion has increased fivefold since 2017.
70% of UK drivers say their vision has deteriorated since passing their test
Seven in ten (70%) UK drivers admit their vision is worse than when they passed their test, whilst only a fifth (20%) think those with bad vision should be banned from driving.
The study1 of 2,000 UK drivers, conducted by Euro Car Parts, a leading supplier of car parts, explored the nation’s attitudes towards driving with reduced vision and aims to raise awareness of the dangers.
Every year, around 200 accidents on UK roads are attributed to ‘uncorrected or defective eyesight’, with the latest Department for Transport data reporting that in 2018, 53 of these were serious incidents, with three fatalities.
While all drivers are required to pass a simple eyesight check during their test, people are currently allowed to stay behind the wheel indefinitely without any future assessments.
There are no plans to change the current regulation, despite a staggering 70% of UK adults (approximately 29 million drivers) admitting that their eyesight has worsened since they passed. The figure is naturally greatest amongst over 55s (84%) but is still worryingly high for younger drivers. Over half of 18-24-year-olds (55%) and 25-34s (59%) confess that their vision has deteriorated.