Like it or not, in order to have a full driver’s licence you must pass a forty minute test put in place by the DVLA, which includes an assessment of your driving, one manoeuvre and a 5-10 minute independent drive during which you will follow road signs towards a specific destination. The driving test has been around for absolute donkey’s years and during which time hasn’t really changed a great deal (the independent drive is the newest measure which was introduced a few years back). However, there are about to be some fairly big changes put in place, so here is everything you need to know about the new and improved driving examination.
There have been four main changes to the test announced, and they are set to be put in place later on this year, around December time. The changes are as follows:
- The independent drive part of the test will increase from its current time of ten minutes to a further 20 minutes, which will allow the examiner to see more of how you cope when driving unaided and how much attention you pay to signs that are placed on the road.
- In a modern twist, during the independent driving route, four in five candidates will be asked to follow sat nav instructions rather than reading the road signs. Drivers these days are more likely to follow a sat nav than read signs and the DVLA is slowly becoming aware of this.
- Two manoeuvres are going to be abolished from the test completely and these are the turn in the road and the reverse around a corner (cue the cheers).
- The two safety questions which are usually asked at the start of your test will be split in half so that one is asked at the start of the test and the other is asked whilst you are driving. This is so that the candidate can demonstrate the answer to the question, for example turning on the windscreen wipers and washing the windscreen using controls.
England, Scotland and Wales will see these new rules come into effect from Monday 4th December 2017 and the new test has already been trialled with more than 4,500 learners and 850 instructors in 32 locations across the country and it seems it has been a success. Now I know what your thinking, because the test has changed, does this mean that the price and pass mark also change? What about the length? Unfortunately, there will be no reductions to the £62 price that the driving test currently stands at, the driving test will still be forty minutes long and you will still need less than 15 minor faults and no majors in order to pass.
Now the DVLA have decided to modernise the driving test, are there any other changes in the pipeline? In the near future, it seems that the DVLA would like to bring in a standardised driving test car which will be a more basic model in comparison to some of the high-tech cars you can get today, which monitor things for you so that you can avoid checking things like blind spots and rear-view mirrors. The standardised car idea comes as people are complaining that ‘richer’ candidates are getting an unfair advantage on their test as they are taking it in cars filled with gadgets and driving aids. It also seems that it is not just the candidates under examination, but also the instructors after calls for under-performers to be subject to Ofsted-style inspections in an attempt to inmprove driving pass rates.