By Emma Kerslake
There’s no denying that being able to drive is fantastic. No more pleading with parents for lifts or standing for hours in the blistering cold for a bus. It can seem almost life-changing with the huge amount of freedom that’s suddenly handed to you. The one thing, however, that I find totally absurd is the whole process of the driving test. I completely understand the necessity of testing those before they are allowed on the roads, but I find the whole process very dishonest.
Before the test is allowed to take place, you must begin with driving lessons. When else would you pay 25 pounds an hour to be trapped in a confined space with a (usually) grumpy, middle aged man discrediting you for every little mistake you make? Some people do choose to go down the route of employing their parents as instructors, however from personal experience, this only ends in tears, arguments and a whole lot of stress from both parties.
Once the lessons are underway and the theory test (which also seems to test for first aid knowledge) has been completed, it’s time for the dreaded practical test. Well, it would be, but you then discover the waiting list is three months long so must continue to pay for lessons in between. By this point your parents have had to re-mortgage the house twice.
Once the day finally comes, you climb into the car with a stranger and realise that this person stands between you and a huge amount freedom. Legs shaking, palms sweating, you turn the key and throw everything into making this the best drive you’ve done all year. What you don’t realise is that each driving test centre has a pass rate and driving examiners are required to remain within 10% of that figure at all times to avoid disciplinary action. This of course has a direct effect on how many people they allow to pass, proving that even if they have a day of exceptional drivers who all meet the standard needed, they will still not pass all of them.
Unfortunately for us, this is a system that, if we want the freedom of driving, we cannot escape. So blindly we continue to pay hundreds of pounds towards this corrupted organisation in the hope that we will get ‘lucky’ with our examiner. It is a process that desperately needs to change, although shows little sign of doing so.
The bus is starting to seem a little more appealing now, isn’t it?