Sat nav in driving test could be a distraction

CONCERNS: Driving school boss Bev Midgley believes sat navs in driving tests could be a distraction.
CONCERNS: Driving school boss Bev Midgley believes sat navs in driving tests could be a distraction.

The owner of a West Yorkshire driving school has questioned the use of sat navs in the new driving test

Bev Midgley, of Drighlington-based Drive Dynamics, said she feared the use of in-car technology could distract learners on their tests and ultimately lead to accidents.

The new test, which comes into effect on December 4, will see more prominence being given to the independent driving segment, which will increase from ten minutes to 20 minutes.

During this section, four in five candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav provided by the examiner, while the rest will follow traffic signs.

Additionally, those being tested will be asked to perform one of three manoeuvres: - parallel park at the side of the road; park in a bay; or pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and then rejoin the traffic.

Mrs Midgley said : “Over the last few years driving conditions have undoubtedly become increasingly more dangerous and it’s right the driving test is updated to reflect this.

“On the whole, the changes are welcomed as intelligent and safer driving is focused on the use of technology.

“However, in-car technology is a distraction and distractions are the last thing any driver needs, particularly learners or those who have just passed their test.

“I believe it will also lead to confusion of what is and isn’t permitted by law, as many young drivers will use their mobile phones as sat navs. Fixed mobiles on the dashboard are allowable, but they must have text alerts switched off.”

While many instructors and pupils welcome the use of a sat navs, Mrs Midgley stressed they still need to be used with caution. She added: “Police can, and will, prosecute drivers they don’t believe to be properly in control of their vehicles, and fiddling with a sat nav and not concentrating on road ahead, can fall into that bracket.”