British Drivers Must Prove They Can Safely Use A GPS To Get A License


Whether it’s an app on your phone, a built-in system, or a dedicated GPS attached to the dash, most of us use satellite navigation to get around (and troll small children) these days. And the UK is keeping up with the march of time, requiring that all prospective drivers show that they can use a GPS safely in order to obtain a driver’s license.

The driving itself is simple — an instructor enters a route and you follow it. The test is to position the GPS so it’s not in your way and follow its instructions without engaging in distracted driving. As distracted driving causes thousands of fatalities and injuries every year, the idea is that drivers should know how to deal with handling a few tons of metal traveling at 60 miles per hour while a computer shouts at them. Good reasoning, but here’s a question: If distracted driving is the issue, why is “not punching a passenger who keeps fiddling with the iPod and whining about your music collection” not on the test? That’s bound to create more distraction than satellite navigation!

What the test really boils down to is not being a total idiot on the road. And it’s an important requirement, especially because fewer people may be able to pass this particular test than we might like;15 to 30% of drivers were still texting while driving in 2011. Maybe America should take a cue from UK driving exams. Or, at least, make it legal to sideswipe the jerk yakking on his phone as he cuts you off on the highway.

(Via The Verge)