Several changes have been made to the UK car driving test following a public consultation of 3,900 people and a trial involving 860 driving instructors and over 4,300 learner drivers.
Car accidents remain the biggest killer of young people under the age of 24, with around 20% of new drivers still having accidents within their first six months on the road. As many as 12% of all road accidents causing deaths and serious injuries involve 17-19 year-olds, despite the fact this age group represents just 1.5% of all UK motorists.
The 2017 driving test changes, which were introduced on 4 December as a response to these statistics, involve substantial reworkings of the practical driving test format and tested skills. One of the major changes is that the length of the independent driving section of the test has been doubled to twenty minutes, with candidates now being instructed to comply with satellite navigation directions.
In the independent driving section, the learner driver is required to drive without turn-by-turn instructions from the examiner. Though one fifth of the drivers will need to read road signs to reach their destination, the remaining portion will need to follow directions given by a sat nav, which will be programmed by the examiner. Learners will not be permitted to use their own system, but can ask the examiner for help if they get lost. They will not be penalised for driving in the wrong direction unless a fault is made.
Reverse around the corner and turn in the road manoeuvres are no longer part of the test, though instructors will still teach them. Learners will instead need to parallel park at the roadside, park in a bay, and pull up on the right-hand side of the road before reversing for two car lengths and rejoining the traffic.
The DVSA says this final manoeuvre has been introduced to reflect the fact so many drivers do park against the traffic flow even though they are not permitted to do so. Its inclusion has, however, incurred some safety criticisms and a petition against the move.
There have also been changes to the ‘show me, tell me’ questions, otherwise known as the vehicle safety questions. Whilst these were previously asked at the beginning of the test, ‘show me’ questions are now posed when learners are actually driving.
The DVSA says it has introduced the UK driving test changes to ensure tests reflect real-life driving scenarios and cut down the number of fatalities linked to young drivers. The vast majority of fatal collisions occur on high-speed roads, and the new rules mean such roads – excluding motorways – can be included in more test routes. The changes have also been designed to make drivers use sat nav systems more carefully.
If you’ve recently passed your test and are looking for your first vehicle, Carwise Group can help you find the perfect option. Our dealerships in Harlow, Maidstone and Dunstable have a wide selection of quality used cars, each of which has been thoroughly checked before going onto the forecourt.