Driving test examiners could get body cameras after rise in abuse

Driving test examiners could get body cameras after rise in abuse
Driving test examiners could be equipped with body cameras as part of a ‘zero tolerance’ crackdown on assaults by candidates.

The move from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) comes after a rise in the number of attacks on examiners by failed candidates.

DVSA figures show the number of reported incidents of physical or verbal abuse reached 240 in 2016 – up from 180 a year earlier.

The RAC called the rise in verbal and physical abuse “disappointing”.

As well as test examiners, other DVSA staff such as roadside enforcement employees and vehicle testers were also affected by rising levels of abuse while doing their jobs.

The number of incidents against all DVSA staff rose by 50% in a year to more than 300.

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A trial of body cameras is already under way among some DVSA staff, with roadside workers up first. If successful, this could then be extended to examiners, the agency said. 

DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn acknowledged the hard work of DVSA staff and their role in keeping UK roads safe. Announcing the crackdown, he said “our message is clear”.

"I am immensely proud of my colleagues at DVSA, all of whom work incredibly hard to help you stay safe on Britain's roads,” he explained.

“We do not tolerate anyone abusing, threatening or assaulting them. Our message is clear - whatever has happened, don't take it out on our staff. If you do, we'll press for the strongest possible penalties."

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RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams said: "Examiners at the DVSA play a vital role in ensuring the safety of drivers and vehicles on our roads on a daily basis.

"It's therefore disappointing to see such a marked increase in the level of verbal and physical abuse they are encountering from the very people they are trying to help.

"The majority of UK drivers and road users will wholeheartedly support a zero-tolerance approach to such behaviour."

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.