DVSA announces "Driving test changes to come into force this year"

A new version of the practical car test will be introduced by December 2017.


DVSA have today announced that changes to the practical test will be made and the new style test introduced from the start of December 2017.

Learner drivers will need to pass a modern test that will include new manoeuvres and a longer independent driving section to make sure drivers have the skills, knowledge and confidence to drive on their own.

The changes will include the use of satellite navigation to find to enable a self directed drive and allow Examiners to better assess a candidates ability to drive independently - somewhat hampering an attempts to crib know test routes.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:

“We have some of the safest roads in the world but we are always looking to make them safer.

The new driving test will come into force on 4 December 2017. The four changes are:

  • 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 road signs
  • replacing current manoeuvres such as ‘reverse around a 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 Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said:

“DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving.

“Making sure the driving test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads.”

“It’s vital that the driving test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology and the areas where new drivers face the greatest risk once they’ve passed their test.”

Around half of all car drivers now have a sat nav and to reflect the changing behaviours of drivers, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) want new drivers to be trained on how to use them safely. This was supported by 70 percent of respondents from last year’s consultation.

Using sat navs will encourage more practice of independent driving and teach new drivers the skills they need to manage distractions.

Currently, candidates spend a large amount of their test on low-risk roads, such as housing estates so they can carry out the current manoeuvres. The new-style manoeuvres will allow DVSA to assess the same skill set as the changes are more representative of what a new driver will experience in their everyday driving.

Reducing the focus on slow speed manoeuvres in quiet low-risk roads and increasing independent driving will allow DVSA examiners to better assess the learner’s ability to drive safely on higher-risk roads, where statistically, new drivers have the most crashes.

Feedback on the changes

DVSA received more than 3,900 responses to the public consultation on the changes to the test.

  • 88% agreed with increasing the length of the independent driving part of the test
  • 71% agreed with asking candidates to follow directions from a sat nav
  • 79% agreed with the plans to change the reversing manoeuvres that are test
  • 78% agreed with asking the ‘show me’ question while the candidate is driving

Representatives from the driver training industry are also supportive of the changes.

This includes Driving Instructors Associations, the RAC, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), AA and the driving training National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP).

DIA CEO Carly Brookfield has this to say "The DIA fully supports the developments to the practical driving test and welcome these changes. The evidence from the large scale trial (which took place to evaluate the potential impact of these changes) clearly demonstrates that,  not only does the new style test offer a better opportunity to assess a candidate's ability to drive independent safely, it also made pupils more aware of the need to better prepare themselves for independent driving before they take the test." 

Further information 

News story on GOV.UK www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-test-changes-4-december-2017

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