Driving Test Changes in England, Scotland and Wales

As of Monday 4th December 2017, the car driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will change in an effort to equip new drivers with the skills to drive safely on the road for their lifetime. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has confirmed the changes will only apply to the car driving test to begin with.

What Is Going To Change With The Driving Test?

1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes​

Introduced in October 2010, the independent drive was designed to take up approximately ten minutes of the test. It is designed to allow the candidate to demonstrate their ability to drive safely without constant direction from their examiner or instructor. This portion of the test will now be extended to 20 minutes, meaning that it will roughly last for half of the test.

2. Following directions from a sat nav will be introduced

​As part of the extended independent drive, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. The examiner with provide the sat nav and set it up and you must use the one supplied by the examiner - you cannot use your own sat nav during the test. You will not be marked down for going the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it. One in five driving tests will not use a sat nav. In this instance, you will need to follow traffic signs instead.

Sat Nav
Using a Sat Nav Will Be Included in Updated Driving Test

3. ​Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

The 'turn-in-the-road' and 'reverse around a corner' manoeuvres will no longer be tested; however, instructors are still being encouraged to teach them. Instead, you will be asked to perform one of three possible manoeuvres:

  1. ​Parallel park at the side of the road
  2. Park in a bay (either driving in and reversing out or reversing in and driving out)
  3. Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and rejoin the traffic

4. Answering a vehicle safety question while driving

​Commonly known as the 'show me, tell me' questions, the examiner will ask you two vehicle safety questions during the driving test. The 'tell me' question will be asked at the start of the test before you start driving. You will be asked to explain to the examiner how you would carry out a safety task. The 'show me' question will be asked while you are driving where you show the examiner how you would carry out a safety task. For example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers.

Asda Car Park
You Could Be Asked to Park in a Bay

What Isn't Changing About The Driving Test?

The test itself might be changing, but the pass mark is staying the same. To pass the test you need to make no serious or dangerous faults and less than 16 driving faults. What constitutes as a driving fault has not changed either and the overall time of the test will remain at approximately 40 minutes. Finally, and most importantly, the cost of the driving test will not change.

Why Is The Driving Test Changing?

Road collisions account for over a quarter of all deaths if those aged between 15 and 19, making them the biggest killer of young people. The proposed changes were widely supported by the public with over 3,900 people taking part in a public consultation. A further 4,300 learner drivers and over 860 driving instructors trialed the proposed changes.

These specific changes have been made because:

  • Research has shown that new drivers find independent driving training valuable because they can relate it to driving on their own once they have passed their test
  • 52% of car drivers now have a sat nav and the DVSA wants all new drivers to be trained to use them safely
  • Not including motorways, most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads. More of these types of roads can be included in driving test routes by changing the format of the test.