- ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW: What drivers think about the driving test changes -
- UK driving test changes come into force on Monday 4th December 2017 -
Ahead of changes to the UK practical driving test, set to be introduced on 4th December 20171, research reveals what drivers really think about the new test.
It seems motorists are less than enthused about some of the changes. Confused.com, the driver savings site, found just 17% agree with a new manoeuvre which requires the motorists to pull up on the right hand side of the road and reverse two car lengths.
And thousands of driving instructors are less than impressed, too. In fact, over 2,300 people have signed a petition, started by a driving instructor, calling for the Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to abolish this new manoeuvre, which many drivers will recognise as similar to parallel parking into oncoming traffic2. Some are arguing that this manoeuvre actually contradicts rule 239 of the Highway Code; “do not park facing against the traffic flow”3.
Despite backlash over this addition, the DVSA has made some improvements which will be welcome news for 73% of drivers who called for motorway driving to be tested. While motorway driving will still not form part of the test, the DVSA has introduced learning on the motorway from 20184. And with over half (51%) of motorists admitting they would have felt more confident on the road as a new driver if they had been taught to drive on the motorway, this is a step in the right direction.
The changes to the test have been met with a mixed response from motorists and driving instructors alike, and it remains unclear how some of the more unpopular changes will impact pass rates, which have risen slowly by 4% since 20075. So Confused.com has teamed up with a driving instructor and took to the streets to film him putting some of the new manoeuvres to the test. The driver savings site is also inviting motorists to have their say on the changes in an online poll to influence the way learner drivers are taught on our roads.
Some drivers have already had their say, and it isn’t only the ‘pulling up on the right’ manoeuvre causing a stir. While introducing driving with a sat nav (46%) seems to be the most popular change to the test, very few drivers are happy about removing the turn in the road or ‘three point turn’, with only 16% agreeing with this change.
According to motorists, the test is still lacking in other areas. With the knowledge that young drivers have a higher proportion of accidents at night6, it’s no wonder two in three (66%) motorists believe driving in darker conditions should also form part of the test. Drivers claim learners would also benefit from getting to grips with improved cyclist awareness (49%), motorcyclist awareness (44%), and more experience with urban driving (29%) and rural driving (28%).
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.
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 collisions1. 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.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said: “We hope that the new test will help learner drivers to adapt to the modern conditions of our roads, especially through the independent driving and sat nav additions.
“It’s slightly concerning that many driving instructors deem one of the new manoeuvres ‘dangerous’, but we must trust that those learners who will be practicing these skills early will develop safe driving habits to last a life time.
“Our research showed that 73% of drivers believe motorway driving should be tested, and so it’s likely many people will welcome the law change which allows learner drivers to practice on motorways from 2018.
“Drivers have to put up with seeing poor driving on our roads every day, so their views should be reflected in what learners are taught in order to improve the standard of driving across the UK. We would urge drivers to take part in our poll and have their say.”
Notes to Editors
Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll research on behalf of Confused.com. This was an online poll of 2,000 UK adults who drive (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 30th May 2017 and 5th June 2017.