New style driving test will ‘deliver big safety benefits and save lives’

Changes to the driving test are introduced today [Picture:Getty Images/iStockphoto]

Changes to the driving test are introduced today [Picture:Getty Images/iStockphoto] - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The new-look driving test which comes into force today will help “save lives”, according to a Hertfordshire-based road safety charity.

IAM RoadSmart, Britain’s biggest independent road safety charity, has welcomed the changes to the test format, which it helped to design and evaluate.

The charity, which is based at Albany Place in Hyde Way, Welwyn Garden City, feels the new driving test will deliver “big safety benefits and save lives” by including more real-life situations and introducing learner drivers to the latest technology.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart’s director of policy and research, said: “Experts from IAM RoadSmart have helped to design and evaluate the new elements of the test and we are very excited about the road safety benefits it could deliver.

“Our key aim was to ensure the test reflects the real world as much as possible and also encourages learners to gain experience of as wide a range of traffic situations as possible.”

The changes include the following:

• Independent driving part of the test will increase from 10 to 20 minutes

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• Following directions from a sat-nav

• Reversing manoeuvres will be changed (reverse around a corner and the three point turn will no longer be tested), but you will be asked to do one of three possible reversing manoeuvres instead including parking in a bay

• Demonstrating vehicle safety knowledge while you are driving

The plans were announced by the Government on December 30 last year and will take effect from today (Monday, December 4).

The new format was test driven by thousands of leaners before it final implementation.

Those who had taken the new test were more confident and crucially, for IAM RoadSmart, had undertaken slightly more driving on country roads and dual carriageways.

Mr Greig added: “By doubling the independent driving element of the test and introducing a sat-nav for an unknown route, new drivers will have to practise more.

“A common criticism of the old test was that it always used the same well-known routes, which L drivers could learn by rote.

“The new reversing manoeuvres replace the three point turn, which no one ever used, and dealing with a bay is much more like everyday parking.

“Finally, asking questions whilst driving can help the learner to multi task and deal with passengers.

“New drivers with relevant skills and more experience can only be good news for road safety.”

• To find out more about IAM RoadSmart, visit the website