Changes to the UK driving test - what and why? | Blog

Published by Fresh on March 22, 2017
Changes to the UK driving test - what and why?

It’s needless to say that changes to the UK driving test aren’t exactly taken lightly. The last time that any amendments were made was in 2010, when the very positively received ‘independent driving’ section was introduced to distinguish between ‘learning to drive to pass the test’ and ‘learning to drive in the real world’.

However, calls from GEM Motoring Assistant and various other initiatives and charities including RoSPA have come to the conclusion that the current UK driving test is not fit for purpose; some even calling for a move to the GDL (Graduated Driving License) system in place in New Zealand and some parts of the USA (we’ve blogged about this in more detail here, so check it out!). The reasons for this are the usual ones; changes in car technology, roads and the demands of the motoring world are all leading to a need for modernisation.

However, in the first time in 7 years, we’ve got 3 key changes that the DVSA have tested throughout 2016 on over 4,000 learners and 800 instructors. With no formal date set as of yet, they are looking to be formally introduced later on in 2017:

1. Independent Driving

With the beauty of hindsight, it’s difficult to believe that an independent driving section was only introduced in 2010 - it seems like one of the most obvious things to include. First and foremost, the section has been increased to 20 minutes from 10, to give the examiner more time to observe the candidate driving in their most natural state. As well as this, to catch up with the ever growing amount of drivers using Sat-Navs or mounted phone-apps for their navigation, the section will also include following directions from a device, as well as from the instructor, road signs or a map.

2. Maneuvers

Maneuvers. Dreaded, dreaded maneuvers. People will constantly recount to you how useless the reverse around a corner or three point turn is, as it’s so rarely used - but no more! The DVSA are looking to phase out the ‘reversing around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ tested maneuvers to make way for more modern ones that are more daunting for today’s learner, like reversing into and driving out of a parking bay. Goodbye, reversing around a corner, you won’t be missed!


3. Show me, tell me


The ‘show me, tell me’ section has typically happened before you set off for your test, asking you a few questions from a predefined list about the controls in the car or some basic maintenance like checking your oil. However, now the list of question will be expanded to a possible band of 19 questions and one or two of the questions will actually be asked when the candidate is driving the car.

Overall, there’s nothing drastic happening here - it’s all variations on the theme, and it seems like it’s all for the sake of modernisation. What else should be introduced to the UK driving test? Do these changes do enough to modernise the new breed of drivers?

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