The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is a charity based in the United Kingdom and serving nine countries whose objective is to improve car driving and motorcycle riding standards and so enhance road safety by using the British Police Force system of car and motorcycle control commonly known as “the System”. People who have passed an IAM advanced driving test have substantially fewer accidents statiscally and typically report getting more pleasure from driving too. Research has shown that IAM training increases a wide range of driving skills including speed, safe distances, gear changing and cornering.
The IAM was formed in 1956 and all its members have taken and passed an advanced driving test in a car, commercial vehicle or on a motorcycle. The charity brought its different activities and programmes together under one umbrella called IAM RoadSmart in 2016.
To become a member, one needs to pass the IAM driving test. There are exemptions for people with suitable emergency services or military driving qualifications. Unlike the standard driving test administered by the DVSA, the IAM advanced driving test has less pressure because pass or fail makes no difference to the driver’s licence. Rather, the IAM advanced driving test provides the opportunity to gain assessment, guidance and tips from a qualified Police pursuit driver.
The test lasts for approximately 90 minutes and covers about 30 to 40 miles and includes urban and rural areas, motorways and/or dual carriageways to test the candidate in a wide range of conditions and hazards. The examiner is a serving or retired Police officer who holds a Police Advanced Driving Certificate or holds the Police Driving Instructor Certificate from the UK Home Office.
Tests are marked simply as a fail, pass or first and can be retaken as often as desired. It is not unusual for those who have passed to retake the test to aim for a first. Once the test is passed, the candidate is an advanced driver for life – unlike RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders (RoADAR), which require a 3-yearly re-test. An IAM advanced driver is not subject to re-testing even if their licence is suspended by the government but relevant motoring convictions must be disclosed on annual renewal of membership.
In 2014 the IAM introduced Masters as an even higher standard of driving. The IAM Masters programme provides true one-to-one mentoring, support and guidance in order to help people achieve the highest level of civilian driving standard in the country. Prior to the introduction of the IAM Masters programme RoSPA Gold and the DIAmond Special Test were considered the highest civilian driving qualification in the UK. However, IAM Masters is now widely recognised as the highest civilian qualification in the UK.
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