Are There Any More Driving Test Changes In The Pipeline?

New changes

In the UK, around 1.6 million people sit the practical car test every year, with a pass rate of 43% and a pass rate of 52% on the theory test. Recently, the DVSA has announced some changes and there are rumours of further changes in the pipeline. This is the biggest shake-up in 20 years of driving test history, so to keep you updated, here is everything you need to know about the “new” UK driving test.

New changes

There are four main changes in the driving test which come into force on December 4th, 2017.

1. There will be an increase in the “independent driving” section of the practical test. This will increase from 10 to 20 minutes.

2. Replacing manoeuvres such as ‘turn in the road’ with ones that are considered more ‘real life’, such as driving in to and reversing out of a parking space.

3. Asking one of the two vehicle safety questions (known as the ‘show me/tell me’ part of the test) whilst the candidate is driving. For example, asking a candidate to wash the windscreen using controls or asking a candidate to use the rear heated screen.

4. Candidates will be required to follow directions using a Satellite navigation system as an alternative to hearing physical directions and following road signs. The DVSA says that about half of all motorists now have sat navs, so they should play a role in the practical exam in the future.

The DVSA has stated it’s important to ensure the driving test is relevant for the 21st century: “Ensuring the driving test is relevant in the 21st century, for example, the introduction of sat navs, will go a long way towards doing this.”

Future changes?

Some experts have proposed the possibility of bringing in a standardised driving test car. This is due to increased fears over the driving test becoming too easy to pass with high-tech vehicles.

It’s argued that features such as blind spot monitoring, speed limit detection and collision warning, are all available on many learner cars and can, therefore, be used during a test to an unfair advantage.

However, despite what is considered a “novel” idea, the introduction of a standardised exam car could on the flip-side also make it potentially more difficult to pass.

This is because you are giving learners an unknown vehicle on their test day – a vehicle they haven’t built confidence in. Another hold up is the funding required from the government to back the scheme, which would ultimately increase the cost of the test overall.

Whatever happens, it’s important you choose an instructor who enters their pupils for a test when they are confident and equipped with the necessary skills and attitude to be a good driver. Check out Alfie’s Driving School to see how we could help you!

Why The Satnav Is To Be Included In The Practical Driving Test

SatNav

New regulations are set to come into place in December 2017 that will shake up the UK practical driving test.

It’s one of the biggest recent changes to the current examination. Students will now be tested on their ability to use a satellite navigation system practically, safely and efficiently on the road, in what the RAC Foundation has described as the most “realistic assessment” yet.

Reflecting changing times

The UK practical driving test is currently administered by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency, the body that also approves instructors. As technology evolves, so too does the way drivers navigate Britain’s roads, and the DVSA has an obligation to periodically update tests in order for them to accurately measure the skills needed in order to safely operate a motor vehicle.

One in two drivers now use SatNav technology when travelling, and with many smartphones now shipping with GPS capabilities as standard, the number of users is only likely to increase.

However, with a number of accidents having been caused by drivers failing to concentrate on the road while following SatNav instructions, it makes sense for the DVSA to introduce a test of learner drivers’ abilities to competently use SatNav as an alternative to following road signs before allowing them to remove the ‘L’ plates.

What other changes are being made to the driving test in 2017?

On top of having their SatNav skills scrutinised, those taking their practical driving test on or after 4th December 2017 will be required to answer questions about vehicle safety whilst driving, as well as being expected to drive independently for 20 minutes – double the current required amount.

A ‘show me’ question about a technical aspect of the vehicle – such as how to operate a rear windscreen heater – will now take place during driving, as opposed to the beginning of the examination. This will allow drivers to display their understanding of modern dashboard technology as well as an ability to multitask safely.

Why is the practical driving test changing?

After lengthy consultation with government ministers, motoring associations and the general public, the DVSA concluded that at least 71% of drivers were in favour of implementing more practical, up-to-date directives into practical driving examinations. They were also in favour of removing or amending “archaic” practices, like reversing around a corner, in order to create a test which more accurately represents travelling on the UK’s roads in 2017.