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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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: