Driving test changes will ‘help improve road safety’

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Impending changes to the driving test aim to better prepare millions of newly-qualified drivers for life on the road.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says the proposals will help reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads, and ensure safer drivers and journeys.

The proposed changes are: increasing the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from ten to 20 minutes; asking candidates to follow directions on a sat nav as an alternative to following road signs; replacing current manoeuvres such as ‘reverse around a corner’ with more real life scenarios for example, driving into and reversing out of a parking bay; asking one of the two vehicle safety questions while the candidate is driving, for example, asking candidates to use the rear-heated screen.

Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, said: “Great Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world but there is scope to do more to keep road users safe - particularly newly-qualified drivers.

“Making sure the test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help every driver through a lifetime of safe driving.”

These changes are designed to help reduce the number of collisions on higher risk roads - most fatal collisions are on this type of road, and using sat navs will open up routes to include these.

Lesley Young, DVSA Chief driving examiner, said: “Research has shown that new drivers find ‘independent driving’ training valuable, as they can relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test.

“Candidates will be given more responsibility for decision-making during the test.

“We want them to show they can cope with distractions without the intervention of their instructor or examiner.”

The changes are likely to be introduced in early 2017.

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DVSA trial alterations to test

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working with the Transport Research Laboratory to find out how the changes to the test will better reflect real-life driving.

Over 4,500 learner 
drivers and 850 driving instructors have been 
taking part in a research trial at 32 locations across Great Britain.

The trial is due to end later in 2016, and a full report on the findings will then be published.

A six-week consultation is taking place at present, and runs until August 25.

To contribute to the online consultation, visit smartsurvey.co.uk/s/PFKBO.

MP Rachel Reeves.

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