Driving test changes come into affect today

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From today, Monday, December 4, sweeping changes have been introduced to the driving test eradicating some manoeuvres and bringing the test into the 21st century.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) are implementing the changes in an attempt to reduce the amount of car and collision related deaths in the 15 to 19-year-old age group.

The most dramatic of the four major changes to the current test format is the doubling of the independent driving part of the test from 10 minutes to 20 minutes.

Doubling the length will enable the student and instructor to navigate higher speed carriageways (not motorways) where the majority of fatal collisions involving young drivers occur.

Bringing the test into the digital world is the new navigation via sat nav part of the driving test.

Four out of five tests after December 4 will incorporate this new aspect and will require the student to get to a predetermined point using the instructor’s sat nav. Getting lost will not be marked against a driver so long as no driving faults are incurred along the route.

It is estimated that 52 per cent of car drivers now have a sat nav which is the reason DVSA wants new drivers to be tested while using one.

New test subjects will let out a collective sigh of relief as gone is the infamously tricky three point turn, or turn in a road as the DVSA refer to it. Also erased from the test is reversing around a corner.

Students will be given one of the following reversing manoeuvres to compete; parallel park at the side of the road, park in a bay - either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out or be required to pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and rejoin the traffic.

Finally driving instructors will ask student drivers two questions during the test, one ‘tell me’ question and one ‘show me’ question.

The tell me question will be asked at the start of the test and will involve the students explaining how to carry out a safety test.

The ‘show me’ question will be asked during the driving test and require the driver to perform a simple safety procedure such as washing the windscreen using the car controls correctly.

Any driver taking the test from today will have to sit the new format even if they had previously took but failed a test prior to the December 4 changes.

For more information visit the DVSA website.