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New UK driving test launches TOMORROW – Here’s what is being changed and why


The new practical will be introduced tomorrow. 

A number of changes have been made to the current practical examination by the DVSA to improve the test. 

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 or 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.”


The new driving test now reflects real life driving conditions and will produce safer drivers

AA president, Edmund King OBE


AA president, Edmund King OBE said: “The new driving test now reflects real life driving conditions and will produce safer drivers.

“The longer period of independent driving, use of sat navs and more typical parking manoeuvres will challenge new drivers and should mean those passing the test will have more confidence when driving solo.”

RAC Foundation Director, Steve Gooding said: “Coming up with revisions to the driving test that better reflect the real world challenges of driving in traffic must be a good move. 

“Hopefully the result will be better prepared, more confident, safer drivers.”

UK DRIVING TESTINSURE THE BOX•GETTY

New UK driving test launches tomorrow – here are the new changes

Here are the four key new changes: 

1. Independent driving

The independent driving portion of the practical driving test is increasing as of December 4th. 

Currently this portion of the practical test lasts around 10 minutes, but it will increase to 20 minutes as of next week. 

During this portion of the examination drivers will have to drive without sep-by-step instructions from the examiner and required to follow signs and road marking. 

The independent driving portion of the test will therefore make up around half of the total test time. 

2. Sat nav

Another change to the driving test sees the introduction of sat nav to the practical exam. 

During the independent driving portion of the test drivers will be required to follow direction from a  sat nav. 

The examiner will provide and set up the route for you ahead of the test, so learners do not need to worry about what model they learn to drive with – although you must follow the sat nav provided by the examiner during the test and not your own. 

According to information of the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency website “you will be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure.”

Therefore it doesn’t matter if you go the wrong way as long as you do not make a fault while doing it. 

Drivers should still get clued ip on traffic signs and road marking, however, as one in five tests will not use a sat nav.

3. Manoeuvre changes

The ‘reverse around a corner’ manoeuvre is being scrapped as is ‘turn-in-the-road’.

Instead drivers will be asked to complete one of three different 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 (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)

-pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

4. Vehicle safety questions

During your test the driving instructor will ask you two vehicle safety questions while you are taking your test. 

These are know as ‘show me’ / ‘tell me’ questions, which were typically asked by the examiner before the test began. 

The ‘tell me’ questions will still be asked at the start of the exam while the ‘show me’ questions will be asked while you’re driving. 

UK driving testGETTY

Learning how to use the sat nav will form part of the new test

Pass marks for the test are remaining the same so if you make no more than 15 driving faults then you will still pass. 

It will also remain the same length as before – 40 minutes – and cost the same. 

The DVSA decided to implement these new changes as road collisions account for over a quarter of death of those aged between 15 and 19. 

In addition to this most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways). 

The DVSA said that changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes.

In addition to this 52 per cent of drivers now use a sat nav, so the examiners felt it suitable that new motorists learn how to use them. 

Lastly, doubling the independent driving portion of the test was done as new drivers said that this was a useful part of the test which they can relate to driving once they have passed. 

Speaking about the changes, Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said: “Our roads are among the safest in the world. However, road collisions are the biggest killer of young people.

“These changes will help us to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skill they need to use our roads safely.”

And DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, added: “DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving.

“Making sure the driving test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads.

“It’s vital that the driving test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology and the areas where new drivers face the greatest risk once they’ve passed their test.”

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.



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