Practical Driving Test Trial update from the DVSA

Monday, April 11, 2016

The DVSA has informed the DIA of the interim findings of the ‘Transforming the Practical Driving Test’ trial.


The findings, from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), are based on responses from 1,039 drivers from the ‘learning to drive’ survey, in addition to data gathered from focus groups and interviews.


In terms of overall progress, the trial is going very well. The trial currently has 852 ADIs and over 4,500 learners registered and taking part.  


As the trial has exceeded its original targets for participating candidates and passes in both the trial and control groups, registration closed in late January for ADIs and in early March for learner drivers.  


Feedback from those involved in the trial has been overwhelmingly positive, with ADIs, successful candidates and supervising drivers all in agreement that the new test was a better preparation for post-test driving than the current test. 


Whilst it is very early in the research to draw any conclusions from the trial, first indications have identified that learners:

  • Had a driving style that was less ‘decisive, experienced, confident and fast’, and was therefore safer and more considered

  • Had greater confidence that they could safely use a sat-nav

  • Spent more time on fast dual carriageways with their ADI when learning.


Over and above the proposed changes, the trial also represents a timely study of the driving test, and will provide invaluable data to road safety practitioners across Great Britain to increase our understanding about learning to drive.


Next steps

The DVSA are currently scheduled to give a demonstration of the trial test to Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport in May.  

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