The Government is planning changes to the car driving test to bring it up to date with modern driving conditions, including following directions from a sat nav.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said the changes will help reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads, ‘by making it a better assessment of the candidate’s ability to drive independently in modern driving conditions’.
Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people
It has published a consultation asking for views on the changes.
DVSA chief driving examiner Lesley Young said: ‘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.’
The changes are to:
- increase the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes
- ask candidates to follow directions from a sat nav during the ‘independent driving’ part
- replace the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres with more real-life scenarios, e.g. driving into and reversing out of a parking bay
- ask one of the two vehicle safety questions (known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions) while the candidate is driving, e.g. asking them to use the rear heated screen.
DVSA said it wants to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions. It pointed out that road collisions are the biggest killer of young people and account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.
DVSA is working with the Transport Research Laboratory to find out how the changes better reflect real-life driving. It said initial feedback has been positive and supportive of the proposed changes.
The deadline for the consultation is 25 August.