The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have confirmed that the driving test changes in England, Scotland and Wales will become in effect as of Monday 4 December 2017. The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they’ll need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.
The Four Test Changes
- The independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes. The independent driving part of your test currently lasts around 10 minutes; this part of the test will be made longer so it will last around 20 minutes (roughly half of the test). During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner by following road signs.
Following directions from a satnav. During the independent driving part of your test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a satnav. You will be provided with the satnav and help will be provided setting it up, the examiner will then set the route for you. You are allowed to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re unsure. 1 in 5 tests won’t use a satnav, you’ll be asked to follow road signs instead.
Reversing maneuvers will be changed. The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ will no longer be tested but these manoeuvres should still be taught by your instructor. The three possible reversing manoeuvres you will be asked to do are:
Parallel Park at the side of the road
Park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and then re-join the traffic
Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving. The examiner will ask you two questions during your test, these are commonly known as ‘show me, tell me’ questions. You’ll be asked the following; ‘Tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving ‘Show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers.
The pass mark, duration of test and cost are not changing. The pass mark for the test is staying the same; this means you will pass the test as long as you receive less than 15 minor faults and NO major faults (Anything that is deemed dangerous or serious by the examiner). You will still be marked in the same way and the same things will still class as faults. The cost and length of the test (40 minutes) will remain the same.
Why are the changes being made?
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. The DVSA want to ensure young drivers get all the necessary training to reduce the number of young people killed in collisions.
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% of car drivers now have a satnav – 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.
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Sources: Gov.uk: Driving Test Changes – 4 December 2017