Learning to drive can be a nerve-racking experience, and those taking their first experiences behind the wheel of car are being subjected to regular abuse from drivers. The RAC is reporting that, according to a report from the BBC, learners are on the receiving end of aggression towards them when they are driving or even taking their tests.
Despite the clear ‘L’ plates and driving school logos, these new drivers have experienced ‘intimidation, swearing and being spat at’ – amongst other hostile actions.
Within the report, it stated that a newly qualified driver believed she had failed her test after some ‘despicable’ abuse from another road user.
In response, the Department for Transport said: “The Government is committed to road safety, by identifying and prosecuting the few who make our roads less safe. Aggravating factors are set out in the sentencing guidelines. The Government keeps road traffic offences under review, and the Department for Transport is planning to publish a call for evidence on motoring offences.”
Police are encouraging drivers to share video evidence of any action that could be deemed as dangerous or threatening.
Jacqui Barr, an instructor with Top Hat Driving School in north Bristol and South Gloucestershire shared her experiences with the BBC.
She said: “It’s quite depressing really, because it’s pretty much every week we will get beeped at.
“A common one is you get really aggressive overtaking from people, sometimes they’ll come round you on the wrong side of the road, go up on pavements, things like that. If you’re very unlucky you might get a bit of verbal abuse as well.”
A second instructor in the Bristol area, Marcus Sheppard from Bubble Driving School, shared how his peers have also been impacted by the actions of other drivers.
He said: “A significant number of other instructors are very cheesed off with it, some have left, and some have taken to teaching in unmarked cars, so they don’t become a target for people’s abuse.”
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