The UK driving test will change from December 4 2017, with the addition of four new sections including the use of sat-nav and real-life parking manoeuvres to replace reversing around a corner.
Government ministers say the new test is designed to ensure learner drivers have the confidence and ability to drive on their own.
The updated examination will see ‘reversing around a corner’ scrapped in favour of more real-life scenarios such as reversing in and out of a parking bay.
Other additions to the test will include a section where drivers use satellite-navigation to find their way between examiner-set destinations.
Candidates will also be asked to operate ancillary functions – such as switching on a rear heated screen while they’re driving,
The test won’t be getting any easier either, with the pass mark remaining the same – no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults.
Timing won’t change, either, the new version of the test will remain at around 40 minutes.
The changes will only apply to the driving test to start with.
Revealing the changes, Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “These changes announced today will help reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skills they need to use our roads safely.
“Ensuring the driving test is relevant in the 21st century – for example, the introduction of sat navs, will go a long way towards doing this.”
The Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) believes lessening the focus on slow-speed manoeuvres in quiet low risk roads and increasing independent driving will allow examiners to better assess a learner’s ability to drive safely on higher-risk roads, where statistics show they have most crashes.
A public consultation revealed 88% of people agreed with increasing the independent driving to 20 minutes, while 8 out of 10 backed plans to axe reversing around a corner. A similar percentage support the new ‘show me’ element of the test, but just 71% were positive about introducing sat-navs to the test.
RAC Foundation Director, Steve Gooding, said: “We are very supportive of the revisions DVSA is making to the practical driving test, which will mean candidates undergo a far more realistic assessment of their readiness to take to the road unsupervised.”
“Much has changed since the first driving test was taken in 1935, and it must be right that the test evolves, just as the cars we drive are themselves changing to incorporate ever more driver assist technology such as inbuilt sat nav systems. Novice drivers need to demonstrate the right skills and driving style to cope with the new environment.”
“Clearly driving examiners and instructors both need time to adjust to the new test, in particular to ensure that candidates are well-prepared, nevertheless it is good to know that the new test will be running by the end of this calendar year.”