Upcoming Changes to the UK Driving Test
What happens during your driving test is changing from 4th December 2017. Read on to find out how these changes will affect learner drivers.
Changes to the practical driving test are coming into effect from December 2017 in an effort to make our roads safer.
The upcoming changes have been a topic of conversation for months amongst learner drivers and instructors alike. The length of the test will stay the same at approximately 40 minutes and the cost of the test will remain unchanged. The pass mark is not changing so you can still make up to 15 minor faults during the test as long as there are no serious or dangerous faults.
The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they’ll need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving. The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has confirmed that there are four major changes to the practical test coming to effect from 4 December 2017:
- More independent driving- independent driving currently makes up 10 minutes and will increase to 20, meaning it will take up roughly half the test.
- Following directions using a sat nav– this will occur during the independent driving section. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way, unless you make a fault while doing it.
- Two manoeuvres replaced– the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer from part of the test and will be replaced by two more realistic scenarios. You will now need to park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will pick one) or pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and rejoin the traffic. The only manoeuvre to stay will be the parallel park.
- Vehicle safety questions on the go-the examiner will now ask one of the two vehicle safety questions, known as ‘show me, tell me’ questions during your driving test, e.g. showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wiper.
Why is the test changing?
Collisions on the road are the single biggest killer of young people in the UK, accounting for 1 in 4 deaths of those aged 15-19. The DVSA wants to reduce the number of young people being killed in traffic accidents by making changes to the training and driving test in an effort to make new drivers safer drivers.
The changes described above are being made because:
- most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways) – more of these types of roads will be included on test routes under the new changes
- 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
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said, “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.”
Support from the public
The changes have been made to the test following a public consultation of over 3,900 people, a trial of over 4,300 learner drivers and over 860 driving instructors. The consultation showed that:
- 2% agreed with increasing the length of the independent driving part of the test
- 8% agreed with asking candidates to follow directions from a sat nav
- 6% agreed with the plans to change how the reversing manoeuvres are tested
- 4% agreed with asking the ‘show me’ question while the candidate is driving
Who will it affect?
The changes will affect all learner drivers who will take their test from 4 December 2017, including those have previously attempted the test and those whose test date is moved to after this date.
Please note that these changes will only apply to car tests to begin with, with other vehicle tests remaining the same. Read more about what to expect on your driving test here.
Should I be worried?
Learner drivers should not be worried about the changes to the practical driving test. Your instructor will teach you everything you need to know in order to be a safe driver. What you need to learn for your test will not change.
The changes in the test will “help you through a lifetime of safe driving” according to the DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn.