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Have Your Say About Changes to the Driving Test

The DVSA have been trialling a new practical driving test since spring 2015 in 32 different test centres across the UK.  The 25th August 2016 is your last chance to share your views about the proposed changes to the practical driving test.

You might wonder why the driving test is being changed at all.  Is it just for the sole purpose of making the driving test more difficult to pass?

The DVSA say, “the safety of our roads is of paramount concern and that the purpose of changing the driving test is to make it a better assessment of the driver’s ability to drive independently in modern driving conditions.”

Or in other words – to help make better and safer drivers after passing their driving test.

Driving Test Changes Over the Years

Of course, changes have had to be made to the driving test over the years.  Imagine if we were still tested by the original 1930s test standards!  Even in the last ten or twenty years driving is a very different experience.  Cars have definitely changed.  The roads are obviously far busier now.  Road layouts have changed dramatically, with new road signs to match.  The new driving test needs to reflect these changes so that it prepares people to be safer drivers on the roads.

Significant changes were made to the driving test in October 2010 when an ‘independent driving’ section of the driving test was included for the first time.  Research has shown that new drivers have found independent driving training valuable as it is more like real life driving once they have passed their driving test.

Is a New Driving Test Needed?

How we drive has changed.  Current statistics show that 52% of car drivers now use satnav.  If used incorrectly gadgets such as this can be a dangerous distraction so the DVSA want new drivers to be trained to use them safely.  The new driving test will have satnav included!

Rather than the independent driving section of the driving test being directed by traffic signs and verbal instructions from the examiner, the proposed changes to the driving test will have the driver follow traffic signs and directions from satnav.  This section of the test would also be increased from ten to twenty minutes.

Changes to Driving Test Manoeuvres

For decades learner drivers have been practicing their three-point turns (officially, the ‘turn in the road’) and reversing around corners but these too could be a thing of the past – on the driving test at least.

It’s not that you won’t actually have to perform these manoeuvres in your ‘real life’ driving but these manoeuvres may be replaced by some that are more commonly performed on a day-to-day basis.

The new driving test could include two new manoeuvres: driving into a parking bay and then reversing out and, pulling up at the right-hand side of the road and then reversing back a short distance before re-joining the traffic.

The two original manoeuvres had to be performed on quiet side roads.  Dropping these from the driving test means that more high-speed roads can be included on the test route.

Given that most fatal collisions occur on high-speed roads it is essential that the driving test includes these so that we have better, safer motorists on the road.

Another smaller change is to the way the recently included ‘show me, tell me’ questions will be delivered.  The ‘show me’ will probably become ‘show me on the move’.  So, rather than having to show, for example, how you would clear the windscreen before starting your driving test you may be asked to perform that whilst driving.

The DVSA on the New Driving Tests

DVSA Chief Driving Examiner, Lesley Young, said, “Candidates will be given more responsibility for making decisions during the test.  We want them to show they can cope with distractions and assess risk without the intervention of their instructor or examiner.”

The DVSA needed between two and three thousand learner drivers to take the new driving test.  The results of these tests will be measured against the current driving test.  A comparison will also be made of any changes in safe driving in the six months after passing the new driving test.

Have Your Say

What do you think about the proposed changes?  Do you think that they will make a difference to the safety of our roads?

The DVSA has published a consultation1 asking for your views.  But you need to be quick as the deadline is 25th August 2016.

Whatever changes may be in the pipeline for new driving tests you won’t have to worry.  All of our instructors at Homer’s Driving School teach learners to be confident, safe drivers for life.

If you’ve been putting off starting to learn to drive maybe now is the time to stop procrastinating and go for it.  Call Homer’s on 0800 612 4897.



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