Learner drivers up and down the country are breathing a sigh of relief today, as plans to remove anxiety-inducing segments from driving tests will be introduced from December this year.

Following a successful trial across 32 locations in the UK, more than 4,500 driving tests have already been undertaken using the new format, which includes the removal of the three-point turn and reversing around a corner.

Eye for an eye

It’s rare that good news ever comes without caveats, and this is no different. While the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) give with one hand, they also take with another. Test conductors can now ask you to reverse out of a parking space, run through questions about the car and its functionalities, and they can even ask you to demonstrate the use of a sat nav.

Speaking about the changes to driving tests, chief executive for DVSA, Gareth Llewellyn, said:

‘Great Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world.

‘But there is scope to do more to keep road users safe – particularly newly-qualified drivers.

‘Making sure the test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help every driver through a lifetime of safe driving.’

When asked specifically about the scrappage of reversing around a corner, he added:

‘It is more important for candidates to demonstrate the capability to drive independently on high-risk roads than being able to reverse flawlessly into a quiet cul-de-sac.’

Changes to driving tests

The changes coming into force for driving tests from December 4 are:

  • Examiners will ask test-takers questions prior to the start of the test, but may also ask questions while the vehicle is in motion
  • Drivers currently have 10 minutes of independent driving time per test; that will be increased to 20 minutes
  • Learners will be required to demonstrate their ability to correctly use a sat nav
  • Reversing around a corner and performing a turn in the road manoeuvers will be scrapped from the test and instead be replaced by reversing out of a parking space. Parallel parking and pulling in on the right hand side of the road will remain part of the test

Changes for the better

With technology becoming a greater part of our everyday lives, especially when it comes to new car technology and infotainment, it’s no surprise that the DVSA would want to ensure that the next generation of road users be trained in its safe use, but are we becoming too reliant on technology over technique?

What do you think about the changes to tests going forward? Do you still yearn for the days of AA road maps in glove compartments, or are you fully embracing these new changes?