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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Driving test changes: 3 months to go

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Driving instructors, Driving test, Resources for instructors

Driving test changes handbook

Today (4 September 2017) marks 3 months to go until the driving test changes.

As DVSA's Acting Head of External Communication, I want to give you an update on some things we're doing to help you prepare, and a quick look at some data we've got about how far our communication has travelled so far.

A handbook for every ADI

The first thing to tell you about is a new handbook we're sending to every approved driving instructor (ADI), and everyone with a trainee driving instructor licence.

The A5 handbook:

  • gives you an overview of the changes to the test
  • explains why we’re making them
  • tells you how driving examiners will give instructions to your pupils

A double-page spread of the driving test changes handbook
Regular readers of the Despatch blog will already have seen much of this information on GOV.UK and in our blog posts. But we thought it would help to pull this essential information into one guide that you can keep with you in the car.

You should get yours towards the end of the week starting 11 September 2017. We're sending it to the address we hold for you on the ADI register.

If your handbook doesn't arrive by 16 September 2017

Please wait until 16 September 2017 for your handbook to arrive before you contact us.

If you haven’t got it by 16 September, follow these steps.

  1. Check your ADI registration details and update them if necessary.
  2. Email to let us know it hasn't arrived - we'll pop another out to you in the post.

You need to include your:

  • name
  • address
  • ADI number or driving licence number
  • date of birth

How many people are looking at news about the changes

Our news story about the changes to the driving test on the GOV.UK website has now been viewed over 1.02 million times.

And it's not just people in Great Britain that have been reading it. Our news story has travelled around the world. Data shows us that the news story has been read by people right across the world – in fact, in 172 different countries!

They range from the USA, Spain, Australia and Ireland, through to Peru, the Seychelles and Papua New Guinea. The countries in red on the map are where someone read the story.

Map of the world showing where the driving test changes news story has been viewedIn the media

When we made the announcement back in April 2017, it was covered on TV - including on BBC News, ITV News and Sky News.

The story was also reported by The Mirror, The Sun, The Guardian, The Telepgrah and The Independent, to name but a few. Most local newspapers have also reported on the story.

It's also been reported on by websites specifically targeted at young people, such as LADbible.

What's next

We'll continue making sure that you and your pupils are ready for the changes to the test.

Over the next 3 months we'll be stepping up our communication activity to make sure everyone affected understands what's happening.

Look out for an email in the next couple of weeks telling you that our new 'show me, tell me' question videos have been published. These will be a great resource for you and your pupils to learn about the new questions.

A car driver opening the side window
A sneak peek from our new 'show me' question video - coming soon

Nearer the time, we plan to email anyone who has a driving test booked from 4 December 2017 to check they know. We'll send them links to useful information and videos to help them.

As we get ready to go-live, we'll be working with the media to arrange opportunities for them to get out to driving test centres on 4 December 2017 to report on the story.

And of course, there will be more information and features on the Despatch blog.

Make sure you don't miss out

Here are a few ways you can make sure you don't miss out on any news:

Thank you for spreading the word

Finally, I want to say a big thank you to you for helping to share the news and information with your pupils - whether it's in the car, on your website, or on your social media accounts, it all helps to make sure people are aware.

Please feel free to link to any of our information, and you're also very welcome to link to or embed our YouTube videos.

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  1. Comment by Brian Robertson posted on

    Will there be help for ADIs regards providing a standard SatNav device to fit to their vehicles or recommendations as to preferred SatNav device/models to consider . Any help regards discount purchase of SatNav device?

    • Replies to Brian Robertson>

      Comment by John (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Brian.

      Just as DVSA doesn't recommend vehicles, we won't be recommending a sat nav to use. Instructors will need to choose the one that best meets their needs.

      We’ll be using a TomTom Start 52 for the test, but it doesn’t matter what sat nav you use for lessons.

      Our examiners won’t be looking at whether your pupil can set up and use a sat nav. They’ll be assessing how they manage the distraction while driving.


  2. Comment by Arnold Bryan posted on

    What about PDI's who have passed pt 2 and are doing their part 3 training and headed towards the sc. ?

  3. Comment by Andrew Miller posted on

    Please can we have more guidance on the expected answers or responses to the new show me questions.

    For example question 5: "When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?". Is the candidate required to actually sound the horn? If the candidate replies "I would press here." whilst moving his/her hand to the centre of the steering wheel and then back but not actually pressing to sound the horn, would that be considered correct? If not, why not? It answers the question asked and demonstrates that the candidate knows how to operate the horn.

    In the DVSA video, the examiner adds the word "please" to the end of each of the questions. Are examiners expected to follow the wording given on the website (or in the DT1) or adjust the wording to their personal taste? Why isn't the word "please" in the questions on the website?

    In the DVSA video, the candidate is asked to clean the windscreen and does so with no mirror checks. Would this be considered as a fault? The candidate is also asked to set the rear demister. It's not clear what she does, but she seems to turn it on and leave it on. Should the examiner prompt the candidate to turn it back off? If it is left on would it be marked as a fault because it is not good practice for eco-friendly driving? If the rear demister is left on unnecessarily in an electric car, range may be significantly reduced.

    • Replies to Andrew Miller>

      Comment by John (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Andrew

      Your candidate will need to operate the horn, as the purpose of the ‘show me’ question on the move is to physically demonstrate the safe operation of the control while driving.

      As with the current ‘show me, tell me’ questions, if they just point to the horn, they'd be asked to show how they'd know if it was working or not by physically pressing it. The question will only be asked in a location which is appropriate and suitable for the horn to be sounded.

      Examiners can humanise the wordings by adding ‘please’ or any appropriate wording, providing the message is still clear and understandable.

      Not checking the mirror prior to operating the windscreen washers and wipers would not constitute a fault.

      Once any appropriate ‘show me’ question has been asked, the examiner will advise the candidate that they may want to switch it off if they don’t do so themselves.

      If, after the advice is given, the candidate decides to leave the control turned on then that is their choice. The examiner may then decide to offer further advice if appropriate.

      There are many vehicles on the market with self-cancelling demisters once they have served their purpose.


  4. Comment by Stephen Hicks posted on

    Really am surprised at how many ADI's are worrying themselves over these changes, since the start of my retraining to becoming an instructor in 2002 have myself always taught these supposed new "Driving Test Change's" as part of preparing my pupils to become safe independent drivers ..

  5. Comment by Bryan Jack posted on

    Not sure where we can practice all this bay parking. No bays at the test centre I use, so I am able to take bay parking out of the test preparation and include it in lessons after the test. I believe several large supermarkets in the Glasgow area have already "banned" learners from practicing in their car parks

  6. Comment by Lucy charlotte Thurston posted on

    Thanks. That helps a lot.

  7. Comment by John Clark posted on

    One thing I heard from an ADI who participated in the trials of the new test is that, to use his phrase, "there's a lot more driving" in the new test. Does this mean that there will be new test routes, and will they be wider-ranging than the current routes?

    • Replies to John Clark>

      Comment by John (DVSA) posted on

      Hi John

      There will be new test routes from 4 December 2017.

      Routes will incorporate more rural, higher-speed and higher-risk roads, and are generally longer in length (in terms of miles) than current test routes.

      Changing the manoeuvres we test means we won’t need to spend a disproportionate amount of time in quieter side roads. The revised manoeuvres can be carried out more naturally during the test.

      Using a sat nav will also help us to use better test routes with different types of roads. We currently rely on areas with suitable traffic signs - which are often urban and built-up areas.

      So we won’t be restricted to using test routes that rely on traffic signs - the routes can include more of the types of roads where most fatal collisions happen.


  8. Comment by David Martin posted on

    I have only just purchased a sat nav my observation so far I even borrowed another as to check the speed shown on sat nav on both was showing a 2 to 3 mph difference to the car speed so which are they expected to follow

    • Replies to David Martin>

      Comment by John (DVSA) posted on

      Hi David

      The sat nav screen will display the car’s speed, and the speed limit for the road.

      However, your pupil should use the car’s speedometer and follow speed limit signs. The examiner will only use the car’s speedometer reading.


  9. Comment by Julia posted on

    It is an interesting development that DVSA want to use roads where most fatal collisions occur. As trainers we will be free to spend a lot more time developing students driving to a very high standard of risk awareness and planning, using the more challenging, enjoyable routes, instead of having to clog up the residential estates looking for the only free corner to reverse round on every other lesson. After teaching the basic reverse skills, it is much more relevant for the student to practice those skills in more thought-provoking situations.
    The new test should be much more interesting for us to teach, and much more relevant for the students to learn

  10. Comment by ADI Noel Christopher posted on

    I am very excited to teach my new learner drivers, what is it like driving using SatNav! when deal with complex junctions and roundabouts. It will be a great new learning curve for all of us.

  11. Comment by Tony Curran posted on

    Yes Julia
    I fully agree with your above comment regarding been able to spend more time teaching how to deal with the type of roads that a lot of pupils post driving test are having accidents on
    A very good decision by the DVSA
    Too much winging about pulling up on the right and not enough praise for tackling problems where new drivers need as much experience as we can give them

  12. Comment by Tony Curran posted on

    Hi John DVSA
    The new B test should and believe will reduce accidents post driving test
    You all deserve a lot of praise for making these long needed changes
    It’s a shame a lot of ADIs are just tearing the new Test apart because of pulling up on the right which is something nearly every driver does on a regular basics
    It would be great if we all look at the bigger picture
    which is giving our clients more practice on roads they will use post driving tests and tend to have accidents on
    can’t remember ever hearing of a novice driver been injured while reversing around a corner
    So well DVSA for making the long needed changes
    Regards Tony.

  13. Comment by Steve Calvert posted on

    To help prepare the test candidates for what they may expect could you confirm what map settings will be used.? 3D or 2D? If 2D will it be north up or direction up?
    Will the route be based on quickest or shortest distance?
    Finally will the Independent (Sat Nav) drive be direct from one location to another or ‘meander’ using waypoints?

  14. Comment by Steve posted on

    I understand the need for some changes. For example how often would pupils need to do a full left reverse or a turn in the road although teaching these manoeuvres is useful. I agree with parking on the right but when doing so would someone really have to drive back 2 car lengths ??

    As for the satnav, most drivers at some point will rely on such technology so it is important that pupils get use to such devices but is this not relying to much on technology. What happens if the satnav fails or can't pick up a signal. Also is this not taking away a pupils ability to check and read a sign ie roundabout sign and be able to work out direction and what to do on approach