New test prepares learners for real life driving

More than 80% of young drivers feel prepared for real life driving following the introduction of the new test last year, DVSA has announced today (4 December 2018).

Every year 1.9 million people take their driving test and to mark the first anniversary of changes, research published by the DVSA shows that 81% of newly qualified drivers, who have taken the revised test, feel well prepared for driving independently.

Changes to the practical driving test were introduced on 4 December 2017 to help reduce road collisions, which are the biggest killer of young people and account for over a quarter of all deaths amongst 15 to 19 year olds in the UK. One in 5 people killed or seriously injured on the roads is in a collision where the car driver is aged between 17 and 24 years old.*

Other findings from the research include:

  • 86% of newly qualified drivers confident they can drive safely while following directions from sat nav
  • 2% drivers practicing more than 4 hours on country roads a 7.1% increase
  • 2% learners practicing on dual carriageways a 4.5% increase

Chief Driving Examiner Mark Winn said:

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

“The new test is making a real difference in preparing new drivers and giving them the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to drive on all types of roads.

“Most drivers have found the satnav and the extended independent driving training to be invaluable, and are using the skills after passing the test to keep them safe on Britain’s roads.”

Last year 60% of fatal collisions were on rural roads.  The change in manoeuvres and the increase in independent driving time means learners can now be tested on these roads rather than spending time driving in quiet housing estates.

Research also shows more learners are spending 4 or more hours practicing on rural roads, helping better prepare them for real life driving and supporting the government’s commitment to reduce the number of young people killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads.

With 52% of car drivers now using a sat nav DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely. Research shows that 86% of learners are now using a satnav to practice, with the new test encouraging them to get more practice on roads where they are most at risk, such as country roads.

On 4 December 2017, the practical driving test was changed, to include:

  • increasing the independent driving section to 20 minutes
  • following directions from a satnav
  • changes to reversing manouevres, to include one of 3 possible reversing manouevres
  • answering a vehicle safety question whilst driving

Today also marks 6 months since the rules changed to allow learners to practice on motorways with an Approved Driving Instructor, to help more new drivers gain the skills, confidence and experience they need to drive safely on motorways. Findings from the research published today show that those who did not feel prepared for driving on their own said that lessons in motorway driving would have helped them.

DVSA keeps the training and testing of learners under constant review, to keep up to date with new vehicle technology. DVSA has also recently updated the hazard perception test using CGI technology.

Further information:

Driving test changes in 2017: impact summary



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