News story

A driving test fit for the 21st century

New proposals to improve the driving test, including incentives to be better prepared, form part of a consultation launched by government today.

Driving test
  • biggest shake up of the driving test in a generation
  • proposals for a ‘cashback’ incentive for the driving test, introducing in a deposit which is returned to the driver if they pass, encouraging learner drivers to take their test when they are ready
  • government wants to hear your views on how to improve the service offered by DVSA and DVLA

The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched proposals to improve the driving test as part of a wide ranging review of motoring services in Great Britain.

Only 21% of driving tests result in a first time pass. The majority of tests are repeat examinations.

Infographic explaining 21% of driving tests result in a first time pass.

Reduced driving test fee

Under the new proposals the driving test fee would be reduced by requiring learner drivers to pay a deposit when they take their test, which they get back if they pass.

This will help make sure learner drivers are:

  • better prepared for taking their test and driving independently
  • less likely to have an accident in the months following the test
  • taking their test when they are ready and confident of passing

An incentive to be prepared

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

We want to make learning to drive safer and more affordable. This change will give those who pass first time some money back and provide an incentive for learners to be more prepared before they take their test. These common sense proposals mean that all learner drivers can feel the benefit.

This consultation is a really important step and we want to hear all views.

Steve Gooding director of the RAC Foundation said:

We support measures that will encourage learner drivers to get the experience they need to pass their test first time with flying colours, rather than barely scraping through or failing and having to repeat the process a few months down the road at yet more expense.

Improving road safety and increasing efficiency

The consultation also sets out proposals to:

  • introduce more driving test appointment times, including weekends and evenings
  • offer tests from a range of venues
  • review fees for all services provided by motoring agencies
  • change providers for some services
  • combine services at motoring agencies

The consultation is part of the government’s ongoing work to streamline public services and save the taxpayer money.

Putting users at the heart of services

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said:

This is a bold and ambitious approach aimed at putting the user at the heart of everything the motoring agencies do.

They provide a valuable public service, from issuing driving licences to taking dangerous vehicles off our roads and I want to make sure they are able to operate in the most effective way.

These proposals are about modernising customer services and improving road safety, particularly for younger drivers, and I want to hear all views.

Reducing the shortage of lorry drivers

The consultation will also look at ways to reduce the shortage of large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers. This is one of the largest issues facing the haulage industry today. Streamlining the application process and improving information sharing between agencies could help LGV drivers with the required qualifications to obtain their licence and start work sooner.

Have your say on improving services

The consultation will close on 8 January 2016 and DfT will respond in due course.

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Published 13 November 2015