The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has confirmed that the driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will change from Monday 4 December 2017.
The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they’ll need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.
The changes will only apply to car driving tests to begin with.
The 4 driving test changes
1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes
The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.
This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes - roughly half of the test.
2. Following directions from a sat nav
During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav.
The examiner will provide the sat nav (a TomTom Start 52) and set it up. You won’t need to set the route - the examiner will do this for you. So, it doesn’t matter what make or model of sat nav you practise with.
You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test - you have to use the one supplied by the examiner.
You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.
One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.
3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed
The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor.
You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:
- parallel park at the side of the road
- park in a bay - either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
- pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic
4. Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving
The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test - these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.
You’ll be asked the:
- ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
- ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving - for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers
How the new test will work
This video shows how the test will work from 4 December 2017.
Who it affects
All car driving tests taken from 4 December 2017 will follow the new format. This includes if:
- you fail a test before then, and retake your test from 4 December 2017
- your test is cancelled or moved for any reason, and your new test date is from 4 December 2017
Your driving instructor should have been teaching you everything you need to know to drive safely, so you shouldn’t need to worry about learning anything new.
Pass mark, length of test and cost not changing
The pass mark is staying the same. So, you’ll pass your test if you make no more than 15 driving faults and
no serious or dangerous faults.
The examiner will still mark the test in the same way, and the same things will still count as faults.
The overall time of the driving test won’t change. It will still take around 40 minutes.
The driving test cost will also stay the same.
Why the changes are being made
Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. They account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.
DVSA wants to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.
These changes are being made because:
- most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways) - changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes
- 52% of car drivers now have a sat nav - DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely
- research has shown that new drivers find independent driving training valuable - they can relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test
Changes are supported by the public
The changes follow a:
- public consultation that over 3,900 people took part in
- trial of the changes involving over 4,300 learner drivers and over 860 driving instructors
The proposals were widely supported by the public. The results of the consultation show that:
- 88.2% agreed with increasing the length of the independent driving part of the test
- 70.8% agreed with asking candidates to follow directions from a sat nav
- 78.6% agreed with the plans to change how the reversing manoeuvres are tested
- 78.4% agreed with asking the ‘show me’ question while the candidate is driving
Helping you through a lifetime of safe driving
Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, said:
Our roads are among the safest in the world. However, road collisions are the biggest killer of young people.
These changes will help us to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skill they need to use our roads safely.
DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:
DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving.
Making sure the driving test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads.
It’s vital that the driving test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology and the areas where new drivers face the greatest risk once they’ve passed their test.
More information for driving instructors is being published on DVSA’s Despatch blog.