UK driving test changes: what it means for learner drivers

The driving test is changing to better prepare new drivers for real-life scenarios. These are the changes and why they are being made

Words ByDoug Revolta

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The government is proposing changes to the driving test in the UK with the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA).

Both are concerned by the number of young people killed in road collisions.

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The changes won't be confirmed until the government and DVSA have looked at the feedback gathered from a consultation period, but it's highly likely they will be implemented next year.

What are the changes?

Currently, the UK driving test requires you to reverse round a corner and make a turn in the road.

The changes propose replacing both of those with different manoeuvres, such as reversing into and driving out of a parking bay.

The period of β€˜independent’ driving will also be doubled. This is the time in a test where the driver follows traffic signs, verbal directions, or a combination of both. This will double from 10 minutes to 20 minutes.

Candidates will also be asked one of the two β€˜show me, tell me’ questions while driving. They could be asked to use the heated rear window, for example.

Another suggested change is using a sat-nav and following directions from it.

Why is the driving test changing?

The government wants to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads.

More than a quarter of deaths of those aged between 15 and 19 are the result of road collisions.

The changes are being made to help new drivers prepare for more 'real-life' scenarios, to get more experience on some high-speed roads.

When will the changes happen?

A six-week period of consultation is runnning now until 25 August. The public can offer their views of the changes online by clicking here. After 25 August, the DVSA will collate the information and publish a full report. The changes are likely to come into effect next year.

The DVSA is working with the Transport Research Laboratory trialling these new proposals, with more than 4500 learner drivers and 850 driving instructors taking part.

Other changes in the test have been previously suggested by the DVSA. This includes allowing learner drivers to get experience on motorways, and also introducing a deposit that would be refunded to those who pass the test. The DVSA has not indicated if these changes would be implemented.

Will the cost of a driving test be different?

That will remain unchanged. The practical car test still costs Β£62 on a weekday and Β£75 in the evening (after 4.30pm) and during weekends.

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