Letter: One for the road

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The Independent Online
From Mr J. D. Harris

Sir: The Department of the Environment is soon to introduce a written examination for learner drivers because this is in line with EC law and it is fondly believed this will produce better drivers ("L-drivers must pass extra written test", 24 May).

My eight years' experience in Portugal, a country with five times the road fatality rate of the UK (35 per 100,000 of population as against seven), indicates that such a test means nothing.

There, every aspiring driver has to have five weeks' theoretical instruction and a stiff examination before he or she is legally entitled to touch the wheel, but this is regarded by most as a bureaucratic hurdle to be jumped and forgotten about as soon as possible. All it indicates is that the candidate can read and write. It has no bearing on his or her ability to drive.

Make the test stiffer by all means, but give the extra instruction on the road, where it can do some good.

Yours faithfully,




24 May