Driving test changes: have your say

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Following sat nav directions could soon be part of the UK driving test

In a bid to improve road safety the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) wants the public to give their views on plans to improve the car driving test.

What are the changes?

  • Increase the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes
  • Ask candidates to follow directions from a sat nav during the ‘independent driving’ part
  • Replace the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres with more real-life scenarios, eg driving into and reversing out of a parking bay
  • Ask one of the two vehicle safety questions (known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions) while the candidate is driving, eg asking them to use the rear heated screen

Hoping to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on UK roads, the Government hopes changing the driving test will help to do this by making the test a better assessment of the candidate’s ability to drive independently in modern driving conditions.

Why are the changes important?

Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people, accounting for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.

The DVSA wants to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.

These changes have been proposed because:

  • 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 sat nav - 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

Speaking of the plans, DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: "Great Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world. But there’s still more we can do to keep road users safe - particularly newly-qualified drivers.

"Making sure the test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help every driver through a lifetime of safe driving."

DVSA Chief Driving Examiner, Lesley Young, added: "Candidates will be given more responsibility for making decisions during the test. We want them to show they can cope with distractions and assess risk without the intervention of their instructor or examiner."

  • The DVSA has published a consultation and is asking for views on the changes; the deadline to have your say is 25 August.
  • Learning to drive? Check out our guide for everyting you need to know

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