More than 220,000 learner drivers prepare to take the new driving test

More than 220,000 learner drivers prepare to take the new driving test

It’s a week to go until the driving test faces its biggest change since the introduction of the independent driving section in 2010. The changes being introduced on 4 December will help better prepare new drivers for driving on our modern roads.

Currently, over 222,000 learner drivers have a new-style test booked, which will assess they have the skills they need for a lifetime of safe driving. With just 7 days left to the launch of the new test DVSA have have released the following:

The changes to the test are:

  • independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes
  • 4 out of 5 candidates will follow directions from a sat nav
  • reversing manoeuvres will be chang
  • answering a vehicle safety question whilst driving

Road collisions are one of the biggest killers of young people. They account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19. The changes to the driving test will support a reduction in this and make sure that new drivers have the knowledge and skills they need for a lifetime of safe driving.

Most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways). Changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes, rather than quieter side streets, which the driving test has traditionally used.

Increasing the independent driving part of the test to 20 minutes means examiners will be able to assess if the learner has the skills and experience they need to use these roads safely.

DVSA Chief Driving Examiner, Lesley Young, said:

“DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving.

“New drivers are most at risk during the first few months of driving after they pass their test. We need to encourage more practice on a wider range of roads and traffic situations to reduce that risk.

“Changing the test to be more realistic to real life driving will better prepare drivers to keep safe”.

The new test, which has been independently assessed as low risk, includes a new manoeuvre of pulling up on the right. It’s not always possible to pull up on the left. So, as well as being taught that it's best practice to pull up on the left, DVSA wants to make sure new drivers know what factors to take into account when they decide whether or not to pull up on the right.

Given that it is a legal manoeuvre, it's far safer for new drivers to be taught this by a qualified instructor rather than leaving it chance once they've passed their test. It’s a good test of judgement, observation and skill in manoeuvring, which are all essential in everyday driving.

It’s a manoeuvre that can be used  when dropping the kids off at school, visiting the local shops or posting a letter. Those who go on to drive professionally for deliveries will do it every day.

Most people use public car parks on a daily basis, whether that’s at their workplace or at the local supermarket. Research shows that most of low-speed accidents happen in public car parks. These changes to the parking manoeuvres will give new drivers the skills and knowledge they need to bay park and use car parks safely.

The examiner will also be able to use this manoeuvre as an opportunity to assess the same skill used in the current reverse round the corner or turn in the road manoeuvres.

These changes to the test are supported by the driving training industry.

Chair of the National Association Strategic Partnership for driving instructors, Carly Brookfield,  said:

“If we want to launch the next generation of safer new drivers onto our busy roads, then we need a test that better assesses a candidate's readiness for real life independent driving.

“The changes to the driving test are designed to achieve those key road safety goals, and have already undergone one of the largest and most rigorous trials and consultation processes ever seen in driver education to enable it to help deliver on that vision.”

The Motor Schools Association, General Manager, John Lepine, said:

“We welcome the changes to the driving test and believe that the key to safer drivers is better training and preparation. Improving the driving test will give new drivers more of the skills needed for everyday driving.

“The new test will help to prepare new drivers for a safer driving career and help to reduce road casualties. Our members have enjoyed being involved in the development of the new test and hope it will reduce new driver casualties.”