The methods used to teach us how to drive are about to change across the country in less than two months! The driving test used in England, Scotland and Wales will be reformed as of 4th December 2017 and will incorporate more modern habits adopted by drivers in recent years.
The changes include learning to follow directions from a satellite navigation system whilst maintaining road safety and testing different manoeuvers.
The DVSA has confirmed that initially, the changes will only apply to car driving tests. Andrew Jones, the Transport Ministers has 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 skills they need to use our roads safely.”
The New Changes
- Extended test
The first major change is that part of the test will be made longer. During the relevant part, candidates are asked to drive more independently without turn-by-turn direction from their examiner. This portion of the text will now last approximately 20 minutes, which accounts for roughly half of the overall test.
- You can use Sat-Nav
Somewhat contradictory to being asked to drive more independently is that the candidate will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. The days of motorists being dependent on road signs and directions could eventually be a thing of the past. The examiner will set up the route and then let the driver be on their way.
Candidates will be allowed to make wrong turns and go off the satellite navigation suggested route as long as they don’t make any faults. One in five driving tests won’t use a sat nav and those candidates will need to follow traffic signs instead.
- “Reversing around a corner” and “turn in the road” are no more!
Manoeuvers involving reversing will play a significantly reduced role. “Reversing around a corner” and “turn in the road” will no longer be tested and candidates will only be asked to do one of three possible reversing manoeuvers during their test:
- Parallel parking;
- Parking in a bay - the examiner will tell you whether to drive in and reverse out or vice versa; and
- Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and re-join the traffic.
Despite this, all of the manoeuvers should still be taught during lessons.
You will be asked a vehicle safety question
The candidate will be expected to answer two vehicle safety questions during the test, which are known as the “show me, tell me” questions. For example: “show me how to wash the windscreen using the controls and wipers whilst driving”.
Duncan Lewis’ View
It is crucial that the driving test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology and evolves accordingly and these changes seem to be reflecting that ethos to ensure motorists drive safely.
It was often said that driving lessons taught you how to pass your test but you learn to drive afterwards, meaning that each driver develops their own way of driving (bad habits and all) once they are fully licenced. How many of us remain with our hands at the 10 and 2 position at all times for example? The inclusion of satellite navigation during the test makes a lot of sense as most young drivers now will be dependent upon them when driving compared to the older generation. It is wise to get them used to that level of “distraction” during their lessons, so they know how to deal with it and make it more second-nature to them, which will ensure greater road safety.
Author Neil Sargeant is a Road Traffic specialist within the Duncan Lewis Crime Department, based in Harrow. He has specialised in Road Traffic Law since 2008, establishing close working relationships with some of the country’s leading experts in this field and maintaining an outstanding record of client acquittals. His specialist expertise stretch across road traffic law, but are most extensive in:
Duncan Lewis Road Traffic Solicitors
- Drink Driving (with breath, blood or urine samples);
- Drug Driving;
- Failing to provide a specimen for analysis whether this be breath, blood or urine;
- Being drunk in charge of a vehicle;
- Any type of road traffic case that involves a procedure conducted at hospital;
- Dangerous & Careless driving; and
- Cases involving a fatality.
Duncan Lewis Solicitors are specialists in road traffic law, with particular expertise in drug and alcohol-related motoring offences. We can provide free and comprehensive legal advice on any motoring prosecution, regardless of the allegations.
It is crucial that you seek legal advice immediately, as an early opinion in your case can make a significant difference to the end result. Duncan Lewis Solicitors can be on hand to deal with whatever motoring law issue you may have.
For specialist advice please call our Road Traffic specialist Neil Sargeant on 02031141145 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.