Leeds City Council, Britain's second largest licensing authority, approached the agency about creating and organising a scheme in order to improve the standard of driving and road safety for the public and the taxi and private hire driver.
A new 40-minute on the road test will be followed by a verbal de-brief. The on-road test will look at the correct use of speed for the road and traffic conditions, hazard awareness and manoeuvres, one of which is a specially designed exercise for the taxi test. It is expected that 1,500 taxi and private hire driver tests will be
conducted each year by specially trained examiners at driving test centres in Leeds and Bradford.
Those who fail will receive a copy of the examiner's assessment report and be given a verbal debrief as to the reasons for failure and encouraged to consider training before taking a retest.
Chief driving examiner Robin Cummins said: 'We are pleased to be involved in the project and welcome the opportunity to advise candidates who want to make a career out of driving in this particular profession.' Lorna Cohen, chair of Leeds City
Council's licensing panel. welcomed the initiative as a further step towards increasing public safety.
The Driving Standards Agency has been an executive agency of the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (previously of DoT) since April 1990. Its primary aim is to promote road safety in Great Britain through advancing driving standards, testing drivers and riders fairly and efficiently, maintaining the registers of approved driving instructors and of large goods vehicle instructors,
and supervising basic training for learner motorcyclists. DSA HQ is in Nottingham.
2. Nationally in 1998 approximately 1.2 million tests for car drivers, over 60,000 tests for lorry and bus drivers and over 80,000 motorcycle rider tests were carried out. About 1,050 examiners carried out the car and motorcycle tests from 335 permanent test centres across Britain. In the same period, 1.2 million theory tests
were conducted at 158 centres.
3. In 1998, 2,434 new driving instructors were added to the register of approved driving instructors (ADIs) and 16,437 ADIs were check-tested to ensure they met the DSA's instructional standards. 29,371 ADIs are on the register. There are 45 approved training bodies.
4. In December 1997, the DSA successfully regained the charter mark, awarded for excellence in public service, having previously been one of the first recipients of this award, for 1992-95.
5. The DSA has an annual turnover of about£69.3m and has to cover its costs from test fees. The DSA is required to meet targets for waiting times and unit costs. It publishes an annual business plan, report and accounts.
6. The government announced its wish to see better regulation of large goods vehicle and passenger carrying vehicle training in May. DSA has, since 1997, operated a voluntary register of LGV driving instructors.