DVSAs Proposed Changes to the Driving Test

  • Posted: 28-03-2015  In: Driving News

    There have been a number of changes with regard to driving recently: The tax disc has been abolished, in March new laws came into effect in relation to driving while under the influence of drugs, and on June 8th, as part of the coalition Government’s commitment to cut red tape, the counterpart driving licence also goes the way of the tax disc.

    The driving test hasn’t escaped unscathed either. Since 2013, the Department for Transport has been consulting on proposed changes in an attempt to make the test more accurately reflect the demands of everyday driving. Twenty driving test centres across the UK are currently trailing the new tests, with trials expected to last until the end of the year. If everything goes to plan, the new tests will then be rolled out across the whole of the UK by summer 2016.

    We assess some of the proposed changes:

    1 Manoeuvring

    Reversing around a corner and three point turn to be replaced.  The DVSA wants to replace these manoeuvres with ones that are more ‘realistic’ such as:

    • Driving forwards into a parking bay before reversing out and,
    • Pulling up on the right hand side of the road before reversing for a short distance and then rejoining traffic.

    Here at DrivingTestFinder, we can’t help feeling that this only replaces like for like though. Sure it’s important to know how to park, but you can’t underestimate the ability to execute a mean three point turn and escape from a cul-de-sac either. If anything, we’d like to see more tricky manoeuvres incorporated into the driving test rather than less.

    2 Sat Nav

    It’s proposed that ten minutes of independent driving will be replaced by twenty minutes, with some of that involving following pre-programmed sat nav instructions. Sat nav sales might have died recently – although that’s probably because most of us have one. To reflect this sat nav saturation, the DVSA want learner drivers to demonstrate sat nav competency. In the modern age we applaud this, yet still believe both road maps and cartography shouldn’t be consigned to history just yet.

    3 Safety questions

    Currently, safety questions such as “show me how to operate the heater” or “show me how to operate the windscreen” are asked of the learner driver while stationary. The new test proposes that at least one safety question is asked on the move, to more accurately reflect potential driver distractions. Fine, we don’t have a problem with this – it’s surprising the number of tiny actions that drivers do and need to juggle while out on the road – indicating, opening windows, turning the radio on etc so the more practise the better.

    The DVSA are considering a number of other options too, including:

    • A provisional licence at 16 and a half
    • Drivers unable to get a full licence before aged 17 and a half
    • Learner drivers required to have a provisional licence for at least a year before sitting a test
    • Learners to take a minimum of 120 hours driving lessons spread over at least one year before taking a test. Of these 120 hours, 20 to be done in the dark.
    • Driving under different conditions – such as at night time or on a motorway. It has been found that many new drivers severely lack competence in these driving styles.
    • N plates to replace R plates and to be replaced for two years.
    • New drivers (aged under 24) not allowed to carry passengers aged between 14-20 except for immediate family members during the first six months after passing the test.
    • Ban on night time driving for the first 12 months after passing test. Most accidents involving new drivers happen between the hours of 11pm and 7am

    Anything that helps new drivers feel more confident gets the thumbs up at our end. What do you think of the DVSA proposals? A long overdue tune up or are they just tinkering underneath the bonnet? Get in touch and let us know.