The Driving Test is Changing

The Current Test

Since 1934/35 the driving test has been the measure of minimum standards in a driver. Passing this test means that the driver will be able to drive for the rest of their life, with the exceptions of incidents or health changing this. The most recent change was in October 2010 when the DVSA introduced the 'Independent Drive'. An exercise in which the candidate had to follow a series of verbal directions and/or road signs for approximately 10 minutes of the test. Far from being a memory test, it didn't matter if you went wrong or forgot, it was about removing examiner prompts and allowing a more driver focussed drive. It worked as desired, seeing an increase in mirror and signal faults amongst others,  as well as encouraging many instructors to start introducing 'independent driving' into their lessons.

The current test includes 1 manoeuvre (Parking, Turning in the road or Reversing around a corner), Independent Driving and a number of stops including a possible Controlled/Emergency Stop.

Driving Instructor training and support

The Official DVSA Advice for ADIs

You can find the Dispatches advice to ADIs here.

This includes a breakdown of the changes and how they will be carried out.

At present there is no SAT NAV information as they have not yet issued the contract for supply.

The Official Video from the DVSA

The New DVSA Driving Test

The DVSA have announced changes to the driving test. For the first time ever they have been running a trial which has tested and produced road legal drivers in split-test testing. This trial and public consultation has resulted in the following changes:

Removed: Turning in the road and Reverse Corner manoeuvres

Added: A number of interesting additions have been introduced.

  • 20 minutes of SAT-NAV led independent driving
  • 1 of the Show me Tell Me vehicle safety questions to be done on the move - and a potential fail
  • Pulling forwards into a parking bay and reversing out
  • Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road, reversing back and then pulling away

These have met with mixed reviews from many driving instructors, however most instructors are experienced at teaching these skills and many more that are not tested on the current or new tests.

How does this affect you?

Probably not a lot! Most professional ADIs are teaching 'Driving for Life' skills that focus on what you will need to be safe on the road. If choosing a Driving Instructor there are a few things you can look for to help make the decision:

  • Find someone who is interested in you and what you need. How do you learn best? Do you need Theory Test support? Etc.
  • Ask where you will learn. You don't want to learn test routes as you will be driving in far more diverse areas after the test, so practice in them before! Be challenged, be supported and become a better driver than the test requires!
  • Don't rush it. We don't like 'crash courses' they don't give you time to learn and develop. Plan ahead and do things in your own time.
  • Book early - Like restaurants the good Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) get booked up, so get in touch with the one you choose and book early - rather than take the one thats left!
  • 16 is not too early - in fact there are Instructors across the country running schemes like 'Young Driver Challenge' where you can start off road development as early as 11!
  • Do not pay a huge sum up front, have a trial first and make sure you are happy. Meet the instructor, see how they teach and what they drive.
  • Ask to see their badge - this is the DVSA licence to teach and without one they are teaching illegally and without valid insurance.