The practical driving test is set to receive some revisions as of 2017, with learners expected to follow a sat-nav as opposed to verbal prompts from an instructor.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is proposing the changes to, what it says, better reflect modern-day driving conditions.
Additions to the practical test are set include following a sat-nav, rather than going by the instructor’s voice, increasing the independent driving section from 10 minutes to 20, as well as replacing the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres with more real-life scenarios, such as driving into and reversing out of a parking bay.
The DVSA says that road collisions are the biggest killer of young people, with over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19 being caused by road traffic accidents.
The DVSA wants to make sure that training and its planned revisions to the practical driving test help reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.
According to the DVSA, most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways). Proposed changes to the test include allowing more of these types of roads to be included, and not just your usual urban streets. The agency also says that 52% of car drivers now have a sat-nav. The DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely.
DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said: “Great Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world. But there’s still more that we can do to keep road users safe - particularly newly-qualified drivers.
“Making sure that the test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help every driver through a lifetime of safe driving.
DVSA chief driving examiner Lesley Young added: “Candidates will be given more responsibility for making decisions during the test. We want them to show they can cope with distractions and assess risk without the intervention of their instructor or examiner.”
Initial feedback from those who have taken part in nation-wide surveys has been positive and supportive of the proposed changes.
Driving Instructors Association chief executive Carly Brookfield said: “We fully welcome the developments to the test and are compelled by the evidence we have seen to date from the trial to recommend that these long overdue developments are made to a driving test - which has been fundamentally unchanged for over 20 years and has not kept pace with how our roads and driver behaviour has developed over time.”
Head of BSM Mark Peacock said: “The proposed changes to the practical driving test, particularly the extended independent driving and use of a sat-nav, should help to produce better, safer motorists. We have already had positive feedback from our instructors and their pupils and therefore fully support these proposed changes.”
AA president Edmund King OBE said: “We know that new drivers are a higher risk on the roads, therefore we need to better prepare them for real-world driving. These changes will test drivers in a more realistic manner which is essential to improving their safety once their L plates are removed.”
The changes are planned for early 2017, however you can still have your say, should you have any objection to the proposed edits. The DVSA has published a consultation asking for your views, here. https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-the-car-driving-test. The deadline to have your say is August 25.