Learner drivers from today (Monday, 4 December 2017) face a more realistic assessment of their driving ability, as the driving test is modernised to help prepare them for a lifetime of safe driving.
As part of the new test, learner drivers will drive for around 30 minutes, and will be expected to:
- drive independently for around 20 minutes (an increase from the current 10) while following directions from a sat nav or a series of traffic signs
- do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres
- parallel park at the side of the road
- park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out
- pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic
- answer a vehicle safety question while driving – for example, showing the examiner how they’d wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers
These changes are part of work set out in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s 5-year strategy for 2017 to 2022 – ‘Helping you stay safe on Britain’s roads’.
DVSA Chief Driving Examiner, Lesley Young, said: “DVSA is committed to helping drivers through a lifetime of safe driving.
“The new test will help prepare new drivers for driving on modern roads and support a reduction in the number of young people killed and seriously injured on our roads.
“We’ll continue to explore opportunities to further develop driver training and testing to make sure the driving test reflects real-life driving.”
Earlier this year, the government announced that learner drivers will be allowed to take motorway driving lessons with an approved driving instructor from 2018, to help make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely. With the introduction of autonomous or semi-autonomous cars by 2021, DVSA will explore how learner drivers will need to demonstrate that they can use new technology safely, and without distraction, while driving.
DVSA will continue to work with a wide range of organisations to make it easy for drivers to keep their knowledge and skills up to date, helping them through a lifetime of safe driving.
DVSA is also updating the way people qualify to become a driving instructor, so that they have the skills needed to provide high-quality driving lessons to learner drivers.
Driving Instructor Association Chief Executive, Carly Brookfield, said: “It’s been exciting to be so closely involved in the shaping of the new test and to help develop something which will better focus new drivers on shaping up for the challenges of driving independently.
“We’re greatly encouraged by the openness the agency has in seeking the inputs of those at the coalface of driver education in such initiatives.”
National Association Strategic Partnership for driving instructors said: ““If we want to launch the next generation of safer new drivers onto our busy roads, then we need a test that better assesses a candidate’s readiness for real life independent driving.
“The changes to the driving test are designed to achieve those key road safety goals, and have already undergone one of the largest and most rigorous trials and consultation processes ever seen in driver education to enable it to help deliver on that vision.”
DVSA examiners will use a TomTom Start 52 sat nav for the test, which will have pre-set test routes on them. The examiner will set it up – candidates won’t need to set the route – the examiner will do this for them. It doesn’t matter which sat nav learner drivers are trained with. It could be an in-built sat nav, a mobile phone app, or any model of standalone sat nav.
Candidates will be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where they’re going if they’re not sure. They won’t be marked down for going the wrong way, unless they make a fault while doing so.
One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. Candidates will need to follow traffic signs instead.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has carried out an independent risk assessment of the changes to the driving test and found all aspects of the new elements of the driving test being introduced on 4 December 2017 to be low-risk.
PCS’s shameless industrial action is not about the safety of the new test; it’s about the implementation of the standardised Modernised Employment Contract which was introduced in 2014 that PCS members voted overwhelmingly to accept
For more information please contact the DVSA press office – 0115 936 6135