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New driving test comes into effect

The driving test in England, Scotland and Wales changed on 4 December. It now includes a requirement to follow directions from a satnav, answer vehicle safety questions while driving, and perform different reversing manoeuvres.

For around 20 minutes of the test, candidates will be asked to follow directions from a TomTom Start 52 satnav provided by the DVLA. The examiner will program or set it up, and it will be switched on throughout the whole test. However, one in five tests won’t use a satnav and candidates will be asked to follow road signs instead.

Candidates will be required do the ‘show me’ part of show me/tell me element of the test, such as demonstrating how to wash the windscreen or operate the heater, while driving. The ‘tell me’ question, where the candidate explains how to carry out a basic safety task, will be asked while stationary at the start of the test.

Instead of doing a three-point turn or reversing around a corner, candidates may be asked to do one of the following: parallel park; drive into a public car parking bay (the examiner will choose whether this is backwards or forwards) and then drive out again; pull up on the right side of the road, reverse for two ca lengths and then continue driving.

Candidates may still be asked to perform the old manoeuvres – for example, if they come to a closed road or go the wrong way they may be asked to pull over and turn around – so learners should still practise the old manoeuvres as they can fail the test if the examiner needs to help them.

In addition, the independent driving section of the test, where the candidate drives without direct instructions from the examiner, has increased from ten to 20 minutes.

Commenting on the changes, Jason Wakeford, Director Of Campaigns for the road safety charity, Brake, said: “One in four drivers aged 18-24 crash within two years of taking their test, which is why a greater overhaul of the learning to drive system is needed.

“A graduated driver licensing system, including a minimum learning period, mandatory training on rural roads and restrictions for newly qualified drivers − such as a zero drink-drive limit − will allow novice drivers to build their skills and experience over a longer period of time. This approach has dramatically reduced road casualties in countries like Australia and New Zealand, and could save some 400 lives a year if implemented in the UK.
Date posted: 4th, December, 2017