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The Driving Test is being Updated

The Driving Test is being Updated

Since 1935 we’ve all been doing it … well those of us on the road anyway, it’s the year the driving test was introduced and it’s about to get an update!

There have been several updates to the driving test over the years.  The most notable was the introduction of the separate theory test in 1996.  Since then there has only been a small change to the practical test in 2010 when the independent driving section was added.

Over the course of a year around 1.6 million driving tests are taken in the UK.  Over 5 years 3% of all reported road accidents cited ‘learner or driver inexperience' as a contributory factor.  In response to this the Government want to make changes to the existing test.  The changes are designed to better prepare drivers for real life driving situations and ensure they are ready for driving alone without guidance.  The proposed changes have already been trialled for a year by 4,500 learners with 850 instructors in 32 different locations across the UK.

The amount of independent driving will be doubled from the current 10 minutes to 20 minutes.  A sat nav will now be used to address concerns that learner or new drivers are easily distracted by in car devices.  The overall length of the practical driving test will remain at approximately 45 minutes.  The 'show me', 'tell me' vehicle safety question will remain, but the 'show me' question will move position in the test.  ‘Show me', 'tell me’ questions are currently asked before the learner driver begins driving, the ‘tell me’ question will remain here.  The ‘show me’ question will be asked whilst the learner is in motion, so whilst driving the learner may be asked to complete a task such as turning on the lights or operating the heated window.

Research has shown that the manoeuvres turning in the road and reversing around a corner are not used regularly in real life so they will be removed from the test.  Reverse parking is a commonly used manoeuvre so will remain in the test along with 2 new manoeuvres for all learners to dread!  The first is to drive forwards into a parking space such as those in a car park and then safely reverse out.  Most drivers would agree this is used regularly in day to day lives, but you won’t be allowed to drive forwards into the next space in front if the way is clear on your test!  The second manoeuvre test to be included is to pull onto the opposite side of the road and reverse around 2 car lengths.  This reversing procedure has been said to be used more commonly in real life driving situations than a turn in the road and is especially helpful for those who will use driving in their future careers, such as delivery drivers.

These proposed changes are now going through the public consultation stage until 25th August 2016 with the driving test planned to be changed by early 2017.

With autonomous features creeping into every car, making sure you don’t go over the speed limit and parking for you with ease - do you think the government has gone far enough to modernise the driving test?

For all we know in 20 years time a car you drive yourself may become as useless as a personal CD player!

The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.

Car related news
19 July 2016
Written by Natalie Faughy
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