An email alert has just come in from DVSA advising that the driving test will change from 4 December 2017. The changes are as follows:
- Independent driving will now last for 20 minutes (instead of 10 minutes)
- 4 out of every 5 tests will use a sat nav for the independent driving part
- 1 out of every 5 tests will use traffic signs for the independent driving part (as often done now)
- turn in the road and reversing around a corner will no longer be tested
- 1 out of 3 possible manoeuvres will be tested – parallel park, bay park, or reversing in a straight line on the right-hand side of the road
- one of the show me/tell me questions will be asked while you are driving
The bay park exercise could involve reversing in (as now) and driving out again, or driving in forwards, then reversing back out again. The straight reverse on the right will be for about two car lengths, then driving back out into the normal traffic flow.
The sat nav will be supplied by the examiner and won’t involve route setting. Going the wrong way won’t result in a fail as long as it is done properly (as now with independent driving).
The show me/tell question asked while driving will be of the “show me how you’d clean the windscreen if it was dirty” kind (not “show me how you’d adjust your head restraint”).
Although the changes are watered down a little from what was being discussed last year, I am totally opposed to the removal of the turn in the road and corner reverse exercises. These should have remained on the list of possible manoeuvres to make sure instructors were teaching people properly. DVSA says that “you should still be taught them by your instructor”, but that is bollocks – within 18 months the majority of ADIs won’t go anywhere near them (many won’t right from the off), and pupils are going to start kicking up a stink when they know they’re not going to be tested and yet are still being taught them on lessons (especially the ones who have trouble with them, or who can’t afford lessons as it is).
DVSA has only provided the most basic information showing response to the consultation. There is no detailed breakdown of who voted what – God only knows why you would want to ask “the public” how it should be tested on something it can’t do very well in the first place – and some obvious weasel words which amount to “well, even though people said ‘yes’, we decided it would be ‘no’”, and vice versa. I know that some weak-minded ADIs who were involved in the trials were gushing about the changes from the moment they had their first meeting with DVSA, but I can’t believe that those with a mind of their own were happy with everything.
I don’t have an issue with the other changes.