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the new practical driving test

The New Practical Driving Test

The updated practical driving test is likely to be rolled out across the country in the summer of 2017. The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) trialled the new test at a selection of driving test centres over the last two years. Test candidates had a choice at these test centres; either choose the existing practical driving test or take part in the proposed version. Happily, the pass statistics for the two test types have been broadly similar. Over 4,000 “new” tests have been conducted allowing for solid conclusions to be formed about the proposed test’s validity.

A summary of DVSA’s findings was circulated to relevant consultative parties for their feedback on the proposals. In the main, the feedback from the driver training industry has been positive. So, we can expect the “new”, updated test to be at a test centre near you within the next few months.

Why the need for change I hear you ask? DVSA wants the driving test to be relevant to the demands of modern driving. More importantly, young drivers are far more likely to be involved in collisions particularly on rural roads. Satnavs are used by drivers on all routes but they can be a massive distraction. By definition if a Satnav is to be used on a practical driving test it follows that driving instructors will teach how to use them safely.

Some of the manoeuvre exercises are rarely used by drivers so removing two of the reversing exercises from the syllabus is likely to be replaced by two different ones:

  • Turn in the road removed. Parking on the right, reversing a few car lengths and moving off again is to be added.
  • Reverse around a corner to be removed. Drive forwards into a parking bay and then reverse out again safely is to be added.

As previously mentioned, test candidates will follow Satnav instructions to guide them along a predetermined route for up to twenty minutes of the test; which is approximately half the time of the test.

Lastly, test candidates will be asked one of the two show me/tell me questions whilst they are driving. This will test their concentration levels, see how they can cope with a distraction and practice the use of a car’s auxiliary control on-the-move.

Watch out for press releases in the media about when the new test is to be implemented and make sure, if you have a practical driving test this summer, that you are ready for the changes.

Good luck and safe driving.

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