Minister defends test centre move

Closing town centre driving test centres and relocating them raises the standard of driving lessons, according to transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick.

Mr Fitzpatrick defended the ongoing practice, telling MPs there were a number of driving instructors who spent their time taking learners round the test course rather than teaching them how to drive. Test centres which were a longer drive away would prevent this from happening, he said.

The Driving Standards Agency has been forced to relocate several centres to out-of-town locations to accommodate a stricter motorcycle test imposed from Europe.

During Commons question time, Labour's Celia Barlow (Hove) said the closure of centres in Brighton and Hove would force inexperienced drivers on to the A23 dual carriageway to access the new Burgess Hill centre.

Mr Fitzpatrick replied: "You raise the question of the travel and the journey of people who want to sit their driving test to test centres. We do know that there are some approved driving instructors who spend a lot of time with their trainees on the actual test course.

"What we are trying to do is say that's not what they ought to be doing. Not teaching people how to pass the test, they are supposed to be teaching people to drive.

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