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19 May 2008 : Column 27W—continued

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate her Department has made of the cost to the public purse of changing the format of the driving test. [206060]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Our aim is to develop more effective and efficient training and testing arrangements to improve
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road safety without increasing the average cost of learning to drive which we estimate currently to be some £1,500. A partial Impact Assessment which includes cost estimates for various elements of our proposals was published alongside the Driving Standards Agency's “Learning to Drive” consultation paper and these can be accessed via the DSA website

Actual costs would depend upon the decisions we reach in light of the comments from consultees plus the research and trialling work we are undertaking in parallel with the wide-ranging consultation exercise. We shall publish an updated Impact Assessment alongside our implementation plans.

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the longest distance is that learner drivers are expected to travel to take a driving test; [206249]

(2) what estimate she has made of the size of population that each driving test centre should serve. [206250]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Ministers have agreed the following target service levels for the distances most candidates are required to travel to take practical car driving tests:

Population density Distance criteria


No more than 7 miles


No more than 20 miles


No more than 30 miles

For practical motorcycle riding tests the target is that most customers should be able to reach a motorcycle testing facility within 45 minutes, travelling no more than 20 miles.

Driving Under Influence: Accidents

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate her Department has made of the number of road traffic accidents associated with binge drinking in the latest period for which figures are available. [206017]

Jim Fitzpatrick: Information on personal injury road accidents associated with binge drinking is not available.

The provisional number of reported personal injury road accidents involving at least one driver/rider over the legal alcohol limit in Great Britain in 2006 was 9,390. Information is not available for damage only road accidents.

Further information on drinking and driving in reported personal injury road accidents is available in the ‘Drinking and driving’ article in ‘Road Casualties Great Britain 2006’ available at

Copies of the report have been deposited in the Libraries of the House.

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Driving: Costs

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on changes in the cost to motorists of driving since 2005; and if she will make a statement. [206061]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Retail Prices Index published by the Office for National Statistics is used to measure changes in the costs of motoring.

The total cost of motoring fell by 4 per cent. from January 2005 to April 2008 in real terms. The total includes the cost of buying cars, fuel, maintenance and insurance. This overall fall was driven largely by the falling costs of car purchase—down by 20 per cent. over this period. The real terms cost of tax and insurance fell by 6 per cent., the cost of maintenance rose by 5 per cent., with the cost of petrol and oil rising by 21 per cent.

Driving: Young People

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what procedures were used to choose the (a) venues, (b) participants and (c) contents of the Young People’s Forums on Driving; and what steps have been taken to inform young (i) drivers and (ii) learner drivers of the report of the workshops held under the auspices of the forum. [206371]

Jim Fitzpatrick: To offer a reasonable geographical spread, one location in each of the nations in Great Britain was chosen. Nottingham was used as a central location in England outside of London; Cardiff and Glasgow as the major cities in Wales and Scotland.

The opportunity to apply to participate in the forum was widely promoted within each of the chosen locations through:

Participants were selected to ensure that a reasonable diversity of membership for each group was reflected in terms of:

The contents of the fora were chosen so that:

As well as the references to the work of the Young People’s Forum and the workshops, a full report is available on the Driving Standards Agency website:

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The “Learning to Drive” consultation paper can be freely downloaded from the dedicated website:

The website is accessible to young drivers and learners as well as the public in general.

The consultation and website are being promoted via three major social networking sites.

A condensed version of the full consultation paper has been published as a booklet, specifically with young people in mind. Public events will be held in England, Scotland and Wales during the consultation period. Members from the fora will attend to talk to young people who come along.

A media campaign will run throughout the duration of the consultation to promote the events and the website.

Information and directions to the “Learning to Drive” website are included with both the practical driving and theory test confirmation letters and are published on the Directgov website.

Lorries: Road Traffic Offences

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much revenue remains uncollected from non-UK registered Heavy Goods Vehicles for (a) congestion charges, (b) parking fines, (c) speeding fines and (d) low emissions zone breaches. [206044]

Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 16 May 2008]: The Government do not hold this information centrally.

Information collected by the Government identifies the total number of fixed penalties ordered to be paid in relation to criminal motoring offences such as speeding, and the number and amounts of court fines issued. Detailed data about particular offences, or the type of vehicle involved, are not collected.

The relevant highway authority is responsible for the enforcement of penalty charges for civil contraventions—such as congestion charge, parking and low emission zone contraventions. The Government do not require local authorities to provide information relating to unpaid penalty charges, or to particular vehicle types.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency: Pay

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate she has made of the cost of implementing the pay benchmarking analysis undertaken by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in 2007. [206591]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the PCS and Prospect Unions have yet to agree formally both the details within the 2007 comparability studies and the validity and appropriateness of the potential comparators they describe. No estimate of costs can be made unless and until that agreement is reached.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations she has received from the chief executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on staff (a) pay and (b) grading. [206614]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: It is the established practice that Maritime and Coastguard Agency chief executives have regular meetings with DfT Ministers, at which any aspect of Agency business can be discussed.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency: Recruitment

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost of staff recruitment for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency was in each year since 1997. [206568]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The cost of advertising and fees for staff recruitment at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, by financial year, since 1998 is shown in the following table.

Cost (£)





















Information is not available for 1997-08.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency: Vacancies

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff vacancies there are in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. [206569]

Jim Fitzpatrick: As of 15 May there were 36 vacancies that have arisen because of normal staff turnover.

In addition there were a further 60 posts to be filled as part of the agency’s on-going restructuring exercise, the majority of which will be filled from the pool of displaced existing staff. None of these were for coastguards or for surveyors.

Parking: Schools

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance has been issued to local highway authorities by her Department on (a) charging parents to drop their children off outside schools and (b) restricting the provision of parking places near schools. [205403]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We have not issued any specific guidance on these aspects of parking. The Department's “School travel strategies and plans: a best practice guide for local authorities” identified the imposition of parking restrictions as one of several measures that local authorities should consider when providing safer routes to schools, and it gave examples of local authorities that had used such controls as part of their traffic management strategies. There are powers in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 that
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enable local authorities to introduce parking controls (including any associated charges) where they consider it appropriate.

Roads: Accidents

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research has been commissioned by her Department on (a) the primary causes of accidents involving newly-qualified drivers and (b) measures to improve the road-readiness of drivers following the passing of the driving test. [206372]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The consultation on improving learning to drive which the Department for Transport launched on 7 May 2008 is supported by a number of research reports on the nature of the problems faced by learner and newly qualified drivers. The main research is summarised in the Learning to Drive evidence document, which is available online at:

The research includes a large-scale study on the experiences and attitudes of learner and new drivers, including their involvement in accidents. This report can be found at:

There is also substantial research on the causes of accidents involving young people, who represent the majority of newly qualified drivers—three-quarters (75 per cent.) of newly qualified drivers in 2006-07 were under the age of 25. In 2002, an in-depth study, commissioned by the Department, which explored the causes of accidents involving young drivers was published—see:

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) men and (b) women were killed in car accidents in London where at least one of the drivers involved was aged 21 years or under and (i) male and (ii) female in each year since 1997. [206378]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The numbers of (a) male and (b) female fatalities in reported road accidents involving at least one (i) male and (ii) female car driver was aged 21 years or under in London in 1997 to 2006 are shown in the table.

Number of fatalities( 1)
Male car driver aged 21 years or under Female car driver aged 21 years or under
Male fatality Female fatality Male fatality Female fatality



















































(1) Some fatalities may be double counted in the table as an accident could involve both a male driver (aged 21 and under) and a female driver (aged 21 and under).

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