Planning on taking your driving test? You may want to book those lessons in now as The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have reported that the current practical test is due to change on 4th December 2017.
The present test which has remained unchanged since independent driving was introduced in 2010, will now be updated with a test that reflects current driving habits to ensure new drivers have the skills needed to help them on the road.
Waiting times at many centres are already in excess of 10 weeks and there is a fear that learner drivers will now be rushing to book their tests before the changes are implemented will see the waiting times pushed back even further.
Here is all you need to know about the changes:
1. Independent Driving to Increase To 20 minutes
Currently a learner has to drive to a predetermined location following directions from memory that the examiner has given at the start of the test or from a map. This will still be the same, however the time will now be increased from 10 to 20 mins which will be roughly half of the test time. This allows examiners to judge driving ability more accurately in real world driving conditions.
2. Sat Nav Use
During independent driving, most candidates will now be asked to follow a sat nav which will be provided by the DVSA and the route pre-set by the examiner, so learners won’t need to worry about setting one up that they’re not used to using. The examiner won’t be looking at how they use the sat nav, just looking at how they are able to use the road whilst following directions. Multi-tasking! So that means learners can get their practise in using one built into a car, a mobile phone (provided this is stored safely and it’s not touched with hands) or a standalone one.
Only one in 5 tests won’t use a sat nav, and those who don’t will need to follow the traffic signs instead to a location advised by the examiner.
“Reversing around a corner and “turn in the road” are to be scrapped and will be replaced to create real life scenarios. Although these manoeuvres are to be scrapped they should still be taught by instructors.
One of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres that could be requested during the test:
- 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 re-join the traffic
4. “Show Me Tell Me” Safety Questions Whilst Driving
Currently the 2 “Show Me Tell Me” questions are asked at the start of the examination before driving starts. The “Tell Me” (where learners explain how they’d carry out a safety task) question will still be asked at the beginning, however the “Show Me” (where they show how to carry out a safety task) question will now be asked whilst driving, for example this could be show the examiner how to clean the front windscreen by using washers and wipers or how to use the rear heated window. This element of the test will be to demonstrate how well learners can multi task.
The rest of the driving test remains unchanged, which means the examiner will still be marking in the same way and as long as they can get through the 40 minutes making no more than 15 minor faults and no serious or dangerous faults they’ll pass! Happy days.
Although there are more changes proposed for the future, at this stage there are only been 4 which will be implemented, all of which are supported by the general public. This consultation ran from 14th July 2016 to 25th August 2016. The results show that:
- 88.2% agreed with increasing the length of the independent driving part of the test
- 70.8% agreed with asking candidates to follow directions from a sat nav
- 78.6% agreed with the plans to change how the reversing manoeuvres are tested
- 78.4% agreed with asking the ‘show me’ question while the candidate is driving
The changes are being made due to road collisions being the biggest killer of young people accounting to a quarter of deaths of those aged 15-19.
DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:
“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.”