The excess accident liability of newly qualified drivers is a widely recognised problem. Accident rates are highest in the first few months of (independent) driving after passing the practical driving test, after which they decrease during the remainder of the first 12 months and beyond. Independent driving has previously been defined as “candidates making a responsible choice based on their own abilities and the requirements of the task”. The research literature is reviewed with the aim of providing the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) with an evidence-base on which to inform policy decisions regarding the implementation of an independent driving element into the UK training and testing protocol. The literature show that some of the challenges facing solo drivers include poor opportunity for feedback, involvement in a variety of traffic conditions, different driving manoeuvres, unexpected actions of other drivers, different types of roads and distraction. The findings from this review suggest that giving more emphasis to independent driving in driver training and testing may help address some of the challenges that novice drivers face in the early period of post test driving. Including elements of independent driving in the driving test should give examiners new opportunities to observe more “typical” driving behaviour, and thereby to reach a more robust assessment of competence.

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