Sources at the Department for Transport and DVSA have confirmed that plans to introduce changes to the practical car test in December of this year are still on track, despite industry speculation that the general election and BREXIT may have their impact on the implementation of such new policy and regulation.
The new driving test will come into force on 4 December 2017, with the four main changes being:
An increase of the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes
Asking candidates to follow directions on a sat nav as an alternative to following the road signs
Replacing current manoeuvres such as ‘reverse around the corner’ with more real life scenarios, such as driving into and reversing out of a parking bay
Asking one of the two vehicle safety questions while the candidate is driving, for example, asking candidates to use the rear heated screen
DVSA received more than 3,900 responses to the public consultation on the changes to the test and over 4000 ADIs, pupils and examiners were involved in the trial - one of the largest ever research trial in driver education and road safety.
88% of respondents to the survey agreed with increasing the length of the independent driving part of the test, and 71% backed the idea of asking candidates to follow directions from a sat nav.
However, in some online forums and in some reader comments on national newspaper coverage on the changes, motorists and trainers are still expressing concerns about the changes - namely the risk of distraction posed by the use of sat nav, and the pull up on the right manoeuvre.
In the next issue of Driving Instructor, a monthly magazine available to all DIA members, there will be a feature article to address these changes and finding out what driving instructors really think about the changes. Click here if you would like to share your thoughts.
DIA Training and Development Manager, Olivia Baldock Ward, commented "Whilst we are aware that some ADIs still have some concerns about the changes, it is important that trainers now focus on the fact that these changes will be happening (and soon) and we would advise them to think about how they prepare their pupils going forward to meet the requirements of the new test - but more importantly on managing the risks of driving independently once licenced.
"The reality is many new drivers will use sat nav and will more regularly carry out the riskier manoeuvres focused on in the new version of the test and we need to be pragmatic about this reality - whether you personally agree with these changes or not."