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Hastings Direct news: driving test reforms

26th May 2016

This week, our news update looks at proposed changes to the driving test, how texting behind the wheel impacts the brain's safety sense and what valuable item accounts for the majority of insurance claims.

Proposed driving test reforms

Learning to drive.

In a bid to give the next generation of drivers the best knowledge to deal with the demands of modern roads, the Government has published proposals to change the driving test in the UK.

The proposals were published in the Government's strategy for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Driver and Vehicle Standards (DVSA) and the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA).

As a result of the development of driverless cars and in an attempt to reduce waiting times for practical exams, lessons and tests will be reformed.

As well as moving many of the DVLA's services online, the Government said it was committed to reviewing the law regarding motorway driving lessons.

If the proposals are passed, learners will be given the chance to learn with technology, including sat-navs and real time driver assistance technology.

RAC research found more than a third of drivers aged between 17 and 24 did not feel the current driving test equipped them to cope on modern roads.

Texting while driving impacts brain's safety sense

Texting behind the wheel.

A new study involving 59 volunteers has found that texting behind the wheel can cause a key safety function in the brain to stop working. This makes it one of the most dangerous activities drivers can undertake.

The volunteers drove along a simulated road while being distracted. They were asked mentally challenging questions, emotionally charged questions, and were presented with what the researchers called "texting trivialities".

Their steering became "jittery" as a result of all three distractions, the "texting trivialities" caused significant lane deviation and unsafe driving.

The researchers, led by Dr Ioannis Pavlidis from the University of Houston, found that the brain's "autopilot" function, which is located in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) region of the brain, was prevented from working efficiently when texting while driving.

The ACC kicked in to counterbalance any strong jittering and kept the vehicle on course during the other distractions.

Most claimed item revealed

Cycling on the increase.

A new study has revealed the item that has racked up the most insurance claims and the UK's theft hotspots.

It seems the British public are increasingly concerned about both their health and the environment, as more people are taking to cycling.

However, this new-found love of cycling has resulted in bicycles becoming the most commonly stolen item in the UK, representing 46% of all claims, the research reveals.

For safety, store your bike inside overnight, and make sure it is covered by your home insurance.

The research also revealed the worst theft hotspot was East Anglia, which accounts for 16% of all claims. This was followed by the Home Counties, the South East, the Midlands and the North East.

The areas with the fewest claims were Wales, the North West, Scotland, the South West and London.

© M2 Bespoke 2016