The planned new driving test coming in this year does not go far enough to measure ability, say motorists, and some have signed a petition opposing some changes.
Ahead of changes to the UK practical driving test to be introduced on 4 December 2017, one in three (33%) motorists believe the new test does not go far enough to improve road safety.
According to research by Confused.com, the percentage of drivers who are unconvinced by the new test is equivalent to 15 million motorists – a significant portion of the UK driving population.
Despite resentment from some drivers, the Government hopes to make the practical test more up to date and reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on UK roads. This is especially aimed at those between the ages of 15 and 19 of whom a quarter of deaths are caused by road collisions. And with two in five (40%) claiming that poor driving is caused by new motorists who have not been taught necessary road skills, it’s no wonder many agree the test should be updated.
And it is possible that these changes will impact the difficulty of the test for learner drivers in Wales.
Under the existing syllabus, it seems Llandrindod Wells is the easiest place for motorists in the country to pass their test, with a success rate of 71% in 2016.
However, drivers in Wrexham are facing a trickier test, with just 43% of learners in the same year receiving their driving licence. But with updates to the test coming into force, it’s unclear whether this could shift the balance of pass rates across the country.
|Top five test centres in Wales||Pass rate||Bottom test centres||Pass rate|
Despite resentment from some drivers, the government hopes to make the practical test more up to date and reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on UK roads.
This is especially aimed at those between the ages of 15 and 19 – of whom a quarter of deaths are caused by road collisions. And with two in five (40%) UK motorists claiming that poor driving is caused by new motorists who have not been taught necessary road skills, it’s no wonder many agree the test should be updated.
Changes to the driving test, December 2017
|Change||Manoeuvre||However, Confused.com’s research reveals the changes have met with a mixed response.
While almost half (46%) welcome the introduction of the sat nav and two in five (38%) are glad to see independent driving time doubling to 20 minutes, less than one in six (16%) agree with the removal of the three point turn.
Worryingly nearly half (46%) question the safety of a new manoeuvre which requires drivers to pull over into oncoming traffic and reverse and with the pass rate having risen from 43% (2007) to 47% (2016) in the last decade1, it’s unclear how the updates will impact those learning to drive when the changes come into effect.
|Removed||Reversing around a corner|
|Removed||Turn in the road (three point turn)|
|Added||Increasing independent driving to 20 minutes|
|Added||Following directions from a sat nav|
|Added||Answering vehicle safety questions while driving|
|Added||Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road and reversing two car lengths|
|Added||Reversing out of a parking bay|
The research also suggests that the updates may be missed opportunity to address a shortfall in some other crucial skills and behaviours. For example, three in four motorists (73%) believe motorway driving should be tested. In fact, over half (51%) of qualified drivers said they would have felt more confident on the road after passing their test if they had been taught to drive on the motorway.
With the knowledge that young drivers have a higher proportion of accidents at night, it’s no wonder two in three (66%) motorists believe driving in darker conditions should also form part of the changes. Drivers claim learners would also benefit from getting to grips improved cyclist awareness (49%), motorcyclist awareness (44%), and more experience with urban driving (29%) and rural driving (28%).
But drivers aren’t just calling for learners to broaden their skill set as two in five (38%) claim poor behaviour on the road is caused by new drivers picking up bad habits. So it’s little surprise 80% of motorists think driving etiquette should also form part of the test.
Reflecting on poor driving behaviour among new motorists more closely, a whopping two in three (65%) say the test should teach learners about falling into the trap of tailgating. While a further half (52%) say they should be warned about the dangers of middle lane hogging. And other common courtesy teachings should include mobile phone use (60%), roundabout (57%) and indicating etiquette (52%), and cutting in from a closed lane (48%).
The research also highlights almost one in five (18%) drivers believe it’s beneficial for learners to be taught about the financial side of owning a car, such as car insurance, petrol, parking, car finance and car maintenance. This is in order to give new motorists a better insight into realistic cost implications and teach them more affordable ways of running a car.
|While challenging poor driving is important, worryingly, some driving instructors fundamentally disagree with the changes to the test in December. Hundreds of people have signed a driving instructor-led petition calling for the DVSA to abolish the new manoeuvre, calling it a “dangerous exercise”.
The DVSA noted some respondents expressed concern about the pulling-up-on-the-right and reversing-out-of-a-parking-bay manoeuvres, concluded that almost all the representative organisations were in favour of the proposals, which they felt represented real-life scenarios.
|Skill/behaviour||Percentage believe this should be included|
|Night time driving||66%|
|Middle lane hogging||52%|
|Improved cyclist awareness||49%|
|All weather driving||47%|
|Thank you wave||20%|