We’ve announced that the driving test will change from 4 December 2017, and in this post, I want to explain more about how the changes will affect driving instructors.
- the independent driving part of the test will increase from 10 to 20 minutes
- most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav
- the reverse manoeuvres that are tested will be updated
- one ‘show me’ question will be asked while the candidate is driving
You can read more details about the 4 changes.
In this blog post, I want to explain more about the sat nav, reverse manoeuvres and 'show me' question.
Following directions from a sat nav
Following directions from a sat nav is a significant change to the current test.
Just as there were lots of questions when we originally introduced the independent driving part of the test, we know there'll be questions about how using a sat nav will work.
DVSA will provide the sat nav for the test
The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up using one of the stored test routes. The candidate won’t need to touch it.
We've been working with potential suppliers to find and buy a suitable sat nav. We'll award a contract very soon, and let you know which make and model of sat nav we'll be using.
However, I want to emphasise again that it doesn't matter which sat nav you use for practice. It could be a built in sat nav, mobile phone or stand alone sat nav. We’re not testing the ability set a route in a sat nav - just the ability to follow directions from one.
Positioning the sat nav
The examiner will make sure the sat nav is positioned appropriately and safely.
In most cases, we won’t fix the sat nav to the windscreen - it will be on a special dash-mat so it doesn't move or fall off. However, due to the design of some vehicles, there will be some cases where we need to mount it to the windscreen.
Powering the sat nav
We’ll be able to give more information about how we’ll power the sat nav once we’ve awarded the contract to the supplier.
Welsh language for sat navs
Some people asked about Welsh language sat navs during the consultation.
It’s something we investigated, but unfortunately, there isn’t a Welsh language sat nav on the market at the moment.
As our announcement explains, 1 in 5 candidates will be asked to follow traffic signs instead of directions from a sat nav.
We’ll continue watching the market. If a product becomes available, we’ll consider if it can be used and let you know.
Support from organisations who represent drivers with a disability
Many disabled drivers use sat nav systems on a regular basis to help them drive independently and the changes being brought in will make sure that they know how to use these systems safely. They will also ensure that all drivers are better equipped to drive on a wider variety of roads, and carry out an updated set of manoeuvres that are part of everybody’s day to day driving.The revised practical driving test will make Britain’s roads safer, and raise the overall standard of driving, therefore it is something that Disabled Motoring UK fully supports. Graham Footer, CEO Disabled Motoring UK.
You can also read a detailed write-up of the demonstration we gave to the British Deaf Association.
We'll use a wide variety of carparks for the bay parking exercise, such hotels, retail parks and supermarkets. Our driving test centre managers are finding the most suitable car parks for each test centre.
We're also talking to national car parking organisations to agree a joint approach to using car parks for this part of the test.
Pulling up on the right
We know some of you had strong views about pulling up on the right.
While The Highway Code advises to not park against the flow of traffic during the day, it's very important to remember that it's an entirely legal manoeuvre.
On our busy roads, there will be times when a driver needs to pull up on the right - and they need to have the knowledge and skills to do it safely. It's vital to use a safe and systematic routine, including observations and appropriate signals. These are the skills we'll be assessing.
It’s also important that drivers know and understand what factors to take into consideration when looking for a safe, legal and convenient place to stop or park. For example, a busy main road with a constant flow of traffic would not be safe or convenient.
The candidate will need to use their understanding of these factors to choose an appropriate place to pull up on the right, when asked by the examiner.
'Show me, tell me' questions
Some responses to the consultation raised concerns about asking a ‘show me’ question while the candidate is driving. The main points raised were that it could:
- be a distraction
- cause an issue for candidates with special needs
- affect people unfamiliar with the layout of the car
I believe asking a 'show me' question whilst driving will be valuable preparation for types of things drivers need to do safely while driving. If someone has passed their test and is driving on the motorway, they can't pull over to switch on their headlights.
We demonstrated the changes to the British Deaf Association, Disabled Motoring UK and the Dyspraxia Foundation in November 2015. These organisations supported the changes and were satisfied that we’d considered any issues.
To meet the national standard for driving cars, you must be able to familiarise yourself with a vehicle if it's the first time you've driven it. This is an important part of being a safe and responsible driver.
We've published the new list of 7 'show me' questions and 14 'tell me' questions that can be used from 4 December 2017.
Examiner documents and guidance
We'll update the driving test report form (DL25) and guidance for driving examiners carrying out driving tests (DT1) to take account of the changes.
We’ll make these available before December.
ADI part 2 test
The driving instructor national associations suggested that the driving test changes are replicated in the ADI part 2 (driving ability) test.
We’ll consult with people who train instructors about doing this.
It would make sure instructors are familiar with the test their pupils will take and have been tested on the same skills.
If you have more questions
I hope this blog post has addressed most questions you have at this point.
However, please leave any questions you have in the comments below. It'll help us to make sure you've got all the information you'll need ahead of the change.
We're excited about introducing these changes to the test, and helping a new generation of drivers to have the skills and knowledge to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.