New Driving Test
Changes to practical driving test from April 2017
If you will be one of the 1.6 million people in the U.K. taking the practical driving test this year, you need to know about some of the major changes coming to the driving test from April 2017.
Why is the test changing?
Road accidents are the main cause of death among young drivers, aged from 15 to 24 and most of these accidents happen on fast, rural roads. Also, driving habits have changed too, with 52% of drivers now using a sat nav while behind the wheel.
The existing practical driving test hasn’t changed very much since the independent driving section was introduced back in 2010. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) say they want to update the practical driving test in a way that appropriately reflects today’s roads and driving habits. The aim is to increase road safety and lower the number of road traffic accidents, especially among younger drivers.
Driving test changes
Essentially there will be four new add-ons to the practical driving test, acknowledging new technology and offering more realistic driving scenarios.
At the moment, this section of the driving test includes reading and following directions from a map and road signs to pre-set destination. Following April, this section will continue, but there will be an additional 10 minutes added to include directions given by sat-nav.
In the current test, driving examiners often request the candidate to reverse around a corner and perform a turn in the road. The changes will see these manoeuvres replaced by more realistic manoeuvers like driving into and reversing out of a parking bay.
Show me and tell me
The practical driving test begins with the examiner asking the test candidate a show me and a tell me question about vehicle safety. The examiner will ask one of these questions while the candidate is driving and will cover things like showing that they know how to clean the front windscreen using the washers and wipers.
Learner drivers have always been banned from driving on motorways. However, the new test changes coming in this year, will see learner drivers being permitted to take their driving lessons on motorways, although this is not compulsory. Motorway driving lessons can only be taken with an approved driving instructor and in a car with dual controls.
Positive feedback from trial
In addition to publishing consultation on the proposed driving test changes, the DVSA worked alongside the Transport Research Laboratory to determine how changes to the driving test will more accurately reflect real-life driving. A trial was carried about from 2015 to 2016 that included 8500 driving instructors and 4,500 learner drivers. Feedback from the trial was positive and the changes to the test have been widely supported by representatives from the driver training industry.
Getting a new car once you have passed your driving test
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