Friday 1 July 2016, marked 20 years since the introduction of the driving theory test in Great Britain.
Since its introduction the test has continued to contribute towards the government’s commitment to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads, and helped to ensure safer journeys.
The government is also committed to keeping the cost of driving down for motorists and has reduced the cost of the theory test by 25%. Since October 2014 this reduction has saved hard working people around £11.6 million and is expected to save £100 million over the next 9 years.
The DVSA keeps the driving theory and practical test under review to make sure new drivers are well prepared for the roads. Changes to the practical test, including an independent driving section where motorists follow a sat nav, are being trialled to make sure the test reflects real life driving.
The theory test was first introduced as a written element of the driving test process, and replaced questions asked by the examiner during the practical test.
Learner drivers also have to take a hazard perception test where candidates are shown video clips of emerging risks on the road. In January 2015 the filmed video clips were replaced with high quality computer generated imagery (CGI) and updated with more modern vehicles, roads and surroundings.
Since its introduction the hazard perception test has helped to reduce non low speed accidents involving new drivers by 11 per cent.
Transport Minister Lord Ahmad, said:
“We are determined to deliver safer roads and cut the number of people who are killed and seriously injured.
“The theory test is an important check so that new drivers know the rules of the roads and they can spot potential hazards before they develop.”
The driving theory test has seen significant changes since its introduction. In October 1996, the pass mark was raised from 26 out of 35 to 30 out of 35.
In September 2007, the number of questions in car and motorcycle theory tests changed from 35 to 50 and the pass mark became 43 out of 50. A new case study was introduced into the theory test in September 2011.
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:
“The theory test enables candidates to demonstrate they have a good knowledge of the rules of the road and the theory behind safe driving before they start driving.
"The test is kept under constant review to ensure it continues to prepare candidates for a lifetime of safe driving.
"The introduction of high quality CGI clips enables candidates to demonstrate how they would respond to hazards in a safe environment.”
DVSA is also looking to introduce further clips that will show situations with vulnerable road users - like children, cyclists, and motorcyclists. These CGI clips can be used to recreate real life situations that would normally be too difficult or dangerous to film.