Driving Tests Could Be Recorded In Effort To Stop Attacks On Examiners
The use of bodycams could be rolled out for driving test examiners due to the number of attacks by learner drivers who fail their tests.
Last year the number of incidents of failed driving test candidates being physically and verbally abusive towards examiners rose by a third, meaning that tests could now be recorded.
Body cameras will soon be trialled with Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) roadside workers, but their use could be spread out to cover examiners too in the near future.
In 2015, around 180 incidents of physical and/or verbal abuse from failed test subjects were reported; last year this figure rose to 240. For DVSA workers, the figures rose by half to 300 in the same period.
DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said: "I am immensely proud of my colleagues at DVSA, all of whom work incredibly hard to help you stay safe on Britain's roads. 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."
Abusive test candidates will also be reported to the police and told to take their tests elsewhere.
In March, a learner driver in West Yorkshire made several serious errors, swore at the examiner and swerved over a dual carriageway, causing the examiner to have to use the dual controls to bring the vehicle to a stop safely.
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."
In 2015, a dashcam captured footage of a driving instructor having his elbow broken by an impatient motorist when the learner driver failed to pull away from traffic lights in time.
The attacker, who was driving a white Range Rover, exited his vehicle and began hurling abuse at the 64-year-old instructor.
As the instructor opened his door in an attempt to exit the vehicle and diffuse the situation, the angry Range Rover driver slammed it shut again, shattering the man's elbow.
Mr Barnett, who passed the footage to police, said: "I've never had an incident this bad before.
"This guy was being really aggressive but his attitude changed a bit as soon as I let him know he was on camera. He threatened to break my fingers off.
"Then an older guy got out of the car and was waving his fist at me through the window.
"I opened the door just to make it obvious I was not prepared to put up with it. I told them I was going to call the police and one of the guys slammed the door on my arm."
Featured Image Credit: PA