The Driving test is set to change on the 4th December. Are you ready?
The government announced on the 14th July 2016 that it would seek consultation on changes to the UK driving test and stated ‘The government is committed to reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on Great British Roads’. But what does this mean and how significant will it be for you as and when the changes come in?
The government announced that the changes will take effect from the 4th December 2017 and that four main areas would be covered:
There will be a larger focus on independent driving. This element in the test is currently 10 minutes but will be doubled to 20 minutes to give examiners a better understanding of how learners would drive unsupervised, to give a fairer reflection of real driving conditions.
The driving test has changed extensively since it was introduced in 1935 and the test has evolved to involve greater scrutiny and to adapt with modern thinking. Sat-navs have now been around for over a decade and it is believed that 52% of cars are installed with a sat nav. In addition to this, the age of smartphones means nearly everybody has access to a sat nav in their pockets. Therefore, the DVSA is introducing a compulsory measure to follow a satnav for part of the 20 minutes of independent driving.
Many learners have long complained about reversing around a corner as they simply think it is not used in real-life driving scenarios. The DVSA agrees and will replace the reversing around a corner and the turn in the road with ‘more real-life scenarios’. This includes driving into and reversing out of a parking bay. It is believed this will give learner drivers who pass their test greater confidence to park into bays in car parks.
The bay park is not compulsory at all test centers and simply depends on whether the test center has parking bays. Test centers that do not have parking bays simply start and end tests on the side of the road. Therefore introducing further bay park maneuvers for all candidates will help improve confidence for all learner drivers.
The final change is to ask one of the ‘show me tell me’ questions whilst the candidate is driving. This might be something such as turning on the rear heated windscreen or switching on headlights.
DVSA state that the changes are important to not only keep the test evolving and to keep up with the 21st century but to also improve Britain’s safety on the road. Driving is the biggest cause of deaths in young people (accounting for over a quarter of deaths in the 15-19 age group).
Most deathly car collisions happen on higher speed roads (not including motorways). The new changes to the independent driving test will allow for more of this type of driving and therefore better prepare learner drivers. The changes coming into effect have been trialled on over 4500 learner drivers and have been endorsed by many senior members in the automotive industry such as RAC director Steve Gooding who said, “We are very supportive of the revisions DVSA is making to the practical driving test, which will mean candidates undergo a far more realistic assessment of their readiness to take to the road unsupervised.”
These changes coming into force have the simple aim to make Britain safer and improve the confidence and abilities of learner drivers who enter the roads after they pass their test. It is unclear yet what this means for pass rates but rests assured, we will still have your back by getting you that earlier test, saving you time, money and patience!