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Letter: Life in the slow lane

Sir: Mervyn Curran (letter, 3 February) is quite right. We should be changing the culture and making the maximum speed in residential areas 20mph. Unfortunately, we Department of Transport approved driving instructors must get pupils to make "reasonable progress" on driving tests. This is interpreted by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) as meaning that you must drive at least at the current speed limit unless there is a good reason to drive more slowly. Candidates driving at 20mph on all residential streets would certainly fail a test. Candidates can still pass with some examiners despite exceeding the speed limit by as much as 10mph.

Many years ago I asked the then chief examiner, Mr David Norris, if we should all be teaching our pupils to drive at 20mph in residential areas as recommended in the Department of Transport leaflet "Kill Your Speed, Not A Child" which was then displayed at driving test centres. His reply was: "We allow the DoT to display these leaflets but we do not necessarily agree with the content."

Incidentally, one of the main reasons for the new extended test, to be applied from 4 May, is to include more fast driving. So does the DSA think the main problem with today's drivers is that they are too slow?


Department of Transport approved driving instructor