Major changes in driving tests come into force today

The driving test has undergone its most significant shake up since the written theory exam was introduced in 1996.

The practical test has been changed to make it a more realistic assessment of learners’ driving ability.

From Monday the length of independent driving is being doubled to 20 minutes and candidates will have to follow directions from a sat nav.

Rare manoeuvres such as reversing around a corner are being replaced by more common scenarios like entering a parking bay.

Learners will also have to answer a vehicle safety question while driving, for example telling the examiner how they would wash the windscreen using the car’s controls and wipers.

The main changes:

  • Reversing round a corner and turn in the road will be scrapped
  • Learners will have to follow sat nav directions
  • Independent driving will increase form 10 to 20 minutes
  • Answer questions about vehicle safety while driving
Two tone driving manoeuvre diagram icons. Blue and gray driving school icons including roundabout, junction, overtaking, parking, slip road, signals, crossroads intersection, reversing and three point turn icons. All vehicles move independently to easily create different scenarios. Flip-able for right or left-hand drive.

Department for Transport figures show that younger drivers are up to seven times more likely to be killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads compared with those over 25.

It is believed that their lack of experience is an important factor.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) chief driving examiner, Lesley Young, said: ‘The new test will help prepare new drivers for driving on modern roads and support a reduction in the number of young people killed or seriously injured.’

From next year learners will be allowed to take motorway driving lessons with an approved instructor.

With the advance of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, the DVSA will also consider how candidates will need to demonstrate they can use new technology safely.


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Nathan Spackman

Nathan is the Operations Manager at Bro Radio. You'll occasionally find him with our street team and hosting at local events as well as presenting our facebook live videos.