The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced plans to change the current driving test and has launched a consultation asking for views on the changes.
The government says it is committed to reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on Great Britain’s roads. It says changing the driving test will help to do this, by making it a better assessment of the candidate’s ability to drive independently in modern driving conditions.
The changes are to:
- increase the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes
- ask candidates to follow directions from a sat nav during the ‘independent driving’ part
- replace the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres with more real-life scenarios, eg driving into and reversing out of a parking bay
- ask 1 of the 2 vehicle safety questions (known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions) while the candidate is driving, eg asking them to use the rear heated screen
Why the changes are important
Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. They account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.
DVSA wants to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.
These changes have been proposed because:
- most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways) – changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes
- 52 per cent of car drivers now have a sat nav – DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely
- research has shown that new drivers find ‘independent driving’ training valuable – they can relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test
DVSA is working with the Transport Research Laboratory to find out how the changes better reflect real-life driving.
DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “Great Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world. But there’s still more that we can do to keep road users safe – particularly newly-qualified drivers.
“Making sure that the test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help every driver through a lifetime of safe driving.”