Last week I was at a meeting about the proposed changes to the practical driving test. In April trials start at a number of test centres across the country to see the effectiveness of the proposals. The changes that have been proposed are as follows:
- The Turn In The Road and Reverse Left are to be dropped in favour of driving forwards into a parking bay then reversing out and pulling up on the right hand side of the road, reversing back two car lengths, then moving off again.
- Currently two safety questions (Show Me / Tell Me) are asked at the start of the test. Now one of these will be asked during the test, while the candidate is on the move.
- The Independent Drive section of the test will be increased from 10 minutes to 20 minutes and a Sat Nav utilised to give the route. This section will also include the normal checks of pulling the car in and pulling away and the reversing manoeuvre which are currently undertaken outside of the ID section.
As with when the Independent Driving section was added to the test a few years ago, these changes are designed to more accurately mimic real life driving. Whilst very few people I’ve spoken to admit to pulling up on the right, reversing back a couple of car lengths and pulling off again, the reversing part is added to ensure it meets the legal requirement for a manoeuvre in the test. The safety question on the move is designed to act as a distraction whilst driving, much as we come across every day. Sat Navs will be supplied by the DVSA for the test and will be pre-programmed with a route, including stopping off points along the way.
The discussion turned to the outgoing manoeuvres, Turn In The Road and Reverse Left, and whether people would stop teaching them. The general consensus (and one I subscribe to) is that we teach people to drive, not pass the test. The Turn In The Road is an excellent way of beginning to teach a student the skills necessary to manoeuvre the car and both are important real world skills. To stop teaching them would be to offer a service less than is being paid for.
What are your thoughts on the new test? Please comment below.