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Learner drivers face tough new test

By Ellie Fox

This December marks a changing point in the practical test for learner drivers, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced.

The organisation is imposing these changes to help improve road safety. Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people, accounting for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19. The most fatal of these accidents happen on high-speed roads – the new driving test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving tests, therefore giving learners more experience to subsequently reduce the number of collisions.

The main key changes include; driving independently for 20 minutes – this means listening to a set of instructions given by your examiner and following them chronologically, or simply following signs towards a particular destination.

One in five tests will use a satnav – this is rapidly becoming an essential skill, with map reading skills plummeting, the majority of people either own a satnav or rely on their phones GPS when travelling to new places. In the test, the satnav will be used in the independent part of the driving test to show the examinee is capable of using one themselves.

The dreaded reverse around a corner will be scrapped, but so will turn in the road, being replaced by “pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic” and driving into a bay.

The notorious ‘show me, tell me’ questions will be altered with safety at the centre point. They will be asked during your driving period rather than before or after.

Penny Blowes, a law student from Leigh-on-sea, Essex said: “It makes me feel encouraged to pass my test before the new spec comes in because it seems more difficult and I feel I’d have to spend a lot more money on lessons to meet the requirements.”

A video has been published by the DVSA to explain the changes in more detail:


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