Friday, 5 September 2008

DSA 2008 . . . or 2009? . . . Test - Latest

I mentioned in another rant, errr . . . 'post', that DSA or HM Government would be liable for a hefty fine from the EU if the new test isn't implemented.

A source commented:

With regard to EC infractions, the procedure means that there would be almost no possibility of a fine within a six month delay period. Fines are only levied if there is clearly no intention of implementing a Directive.

France is only partially implementing and Italy hasn't got round to implementing - neither have some other southern States. Scandinavia will be implementing on time, as will Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium, but only Belgium is using a special Test Centre like the UK (a quarter smaller than the MPTC). The rest are using ad-hoc off-road areas like car parks for only some elements of the new test. The rest is being done on-road.

MCIA press release:


Representatives from the motorcycle industry met Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick today, to press the industry’s case for a six month delay to the introduction of new test procedures scheduled for the end of this month.

The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCI), the Motorcycle Rider Training Association (MRTA) and Riders Edge (Harley-Davidson rider training) were able to explain their concerns to Mr Fitzpatrick and senior representatives of the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). The call for a delay is also backed by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, the Motorcycle Action Group and the British Motorcyclists Federation.

The industry’s concerns are centred on the road safety risks to novice riders who in many cases will be forced to ride long distances in order to take a motorcycle test. There is also a strong business case to delay implementation of the new test.

The MCI’s Craig Carey-Clinch said: “The Minister was receptive and we had what I believe was a productive meeting. The discussion with Mr Fitzpatrick and the DSA was frank and constructive, and we must now hope for a swift decision to delay the new test procedure until more test centres are available.”

Echoing these comments, the MRTA’s Frank Finch said: As well as hearing our views about the road safety implications, the Minister was also receptive to the business arguments in that the industry faces a £40 million loss of revenue as well as significant job losses, should the new test proceed with too few multi-purpose test centres.”

On September 29th the motorcycle test is due to change, introducing new manoeuvres required under a European Directive. The DSA has chosen to implement the directive by concentrating motorcycle tests at about 60 planned multi-purpose test centres around the UK. Currently there are around 260 motorcycle test centres and the DSA plan, if it had been successful, slashes this number by 80%.

The motorcycle community call has been prompted by the fact that only 39 test centres, nationwide, will be opened ahead of the major changes later this month. There has been rising concern about the DSA’s inability to deliver the promised number of new test sites.

Unless action is taken, there is a real danger that the whole motorcycle test system will fall into chaos, with candidates in many parts of the country unable to secure a motorcycle test. More importantly, the motorcycle industry fears that longer journeys to fewer test centres will bring significant road safety risks. All good advice to novice riders tells them not to undertake long journeys in heavy traffic soon after taking their test, but to build up slowly as they gain experience. Some test candidates could face a journey of 100 miles or more in each direction, coupled with the stress of taking a test.

Craig Carey-Clinch added: The motorcycle industry, MRTA and training organisations are fully supportive of the new test, which should help to produce more competent and safer riders. But we believe that if the new test is introduced in a few weeks as planned, the motorcycle test system is likely to crash and administrative chaos will ensue, discouraging people from taking their riding test, and compromising longer term road safety goals.


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