New UK driving test confirmed for 4 December 2017

Published: 15 April 2017

► New driving test confirmed
► Tougher exam from December
► Learners' sat-nav skills tested

The British driving test is to be overhauled from December 2017 - and in an attempt to modernise the L-plate rite of passage, learners will have to follow sat-nav prompts during the exam.

The shake-up is designed to make the exam more relevant to modern motoring and does away with historic exercises such as three-point turns and reversing around a corner. 

What’s changed on the new 2017 driving test?

Examiners have studied how candidates behave while they learn and once they’ve qualified. The new test aims to keep up with modern roads and behaviours.

Here’s what’s new:

  • Candidates will be asked to follow sat-nav instructions in addition to road signs
  • More realistic driving manoeuvres are added to the test, while old ones are removed
  • Candidates will be asked safety questions while driving
  • Independent driving element will be doubled in length to 20 minutes

UK's driving test changes on 4 December 2017

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which oversees the UK driving test, said the uprated exam should promote greater independence and confidence on busier and faster roads.

When does the new driving test come into force?

The new practical test will be rolled out on 4 December 2017. A theory test remains a separate part of the examination.

TRL, the UK's independent road safety organisation, led a nationwide survey with 4300 learners and 860 instructors to help shape the new driving test.

Shaun Helman, head of transport psychology at TRL, said: ‘The driving test does an important job of ensuring that people have the basic skills needed to be competent when they begin driving solo. These changes are designed to make the test more reflective of real-life driving, and can be seen as a positive evolution of the licensing process.

‘The planned changes to the test will see much greater emphasis put onto independent driving, as well as a renewed focus on higher-risk driving environments during training.’

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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