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Modifications to the driving tests being trialled
About 1,000 learner drivers across the UK will be invited to a trial of new practical exams designed to “better reflect real-life driving”. RED has learned that adverts on test centre notice boards are now asking driving instructors to participate by suggesting to complete beginners that they follow the new programme. Their driving test in due course will reflect the revised training.
Use Satellite Navigation
Learners may be asked to use a satellite navigation system as part of a revised practical exam and the three-point-turn – more recently known as the “turn in the road” – could be scrapped altogether.
The test has existed in its current form for about two decades, although “independent driving” – where motorists are asked to find their way to a destination – has formed part of the practical exam in recent years.
This initial research sets out to explore how the driving test could better reflect real-life driving. The trial will consider extending the independent driving section from 10 to 20 minutes of the total 40-minute length, and asking candidates to follow directions on a satnav, as an alternative to using road signs. The idea is that in practice that is what new drivers do anyway so it should be part of the training and testing. The trial will also consider replacing the “reverse around a corner” and “turn in the road” manoeuvres with more realistic everyday moves, such as reversing out of a parking bay, or pulling up on the left or right before rejoining the flow of traffic.
Better road safety
RED understands that the intention is to carry out these trails over the coming 6 months and then evaluate the driving of those that pass for a further 6 months. The objective behind the changes is to reduce the incidence of collisions amongst newly qualified drivers. No particular change in the pass rate is expected compared to the current national average. The learners and instructors participating in the trail will all be volunteers.