How does the UK driving test compare to the rest of the world?

In late 2017, the DVSA in England and Wales made a set of changes to the practical driving exam. Candidates would now have to master a series of reversing maneuvers as well and follow directions from a sat-nav as part of the independent driving part of the exam. In a move that sparked debate amongst the public, those sitting the test would now also be required to answer one vehicle safety question whilst driving and learn how to park in a safe place on the right-hand side of the road. Over one year on since the changes, how have people in the UK reacted to the new test and what can we learn from the driving test in other countries? We’ve investigated the matter with the help of Motorparks, who offer a range of affordable used cars.

How did the public react to the new driving test?

In a press conference after the new test had been announced, Chief Executive at the DVSA Gareth Llewellyn said: “DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving. Making sure the driving test better assesses a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads.

“It’s vital that the driving test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology and the areas where new drivers face the greatest risk once they’ve passed their test.”

The new test was further supported by Andrew Jones, Britain’s Minister of Transport. He stated: “Our roads are among the safest in the world. However, road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. These changes will help us to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skill they need to use our roads safely.”

As for the British public, the test was generally well received. Ahead of the changes being put into place, a public consultation involving more than 3,900 people occurred. During the consultation, 88.2 per cent were behind the move to increase the independent driving part of the examination. 78.6 per cent were in favour of the adjustments to the reversing manoeuvres, 78.4 per cent backed the introduction of a show me question while someone sitting a driving test was behind the wheel, and 70.8 per cent gave a thumbs up to candidates having to follow directions from a sat nav.

But over one year on from the changes, how have people reacted? In their Driving test changes in 2017: impact summary report, the DVSA recorded that 81.2 per cent of new drivers believed the driving test now prepared them for driving on Great Britain’s roads. According to the report, 86.3 percent of newly qualified drivers also use a sat-nav when driving. 86.2 per cent felt confident that they can drive safely while following directions provided to them via one of these gadgets.

How could the test be improved further & what can we learn from other countries?

If the DVSA intends to implement further changes in future, perhaps they could take some inspiration from the following…

1.      UK & America: Electric car tests

Electric car use has grown substantially in the UK over the past few years, with a small percentage of tests being taken in an electric vehicle. In 2012, a student from Hull became the first UK leaner to pass their test in the Vauxhall Ampera. Since then, electric vehicles have been a popular choice for learners – particularly those sitting the automatic test. The UK has seen a boom in new EV registrations over the past decade, as well as an increase in related services such as EV charger installation and charging points. As electric car use continues to grow in the UK, we can expect an increased number of electric vehicle specific driving schools too.

2.      Sweden: Night time driving

Most of us are used to driving in the dark, whether it involves driving home after a late shift at work, picking the kids up from school or going for a late-night cinema trip or dinner. However, road casualty statistics reported on by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reveal that 40 per cent of collisions will be recorded during the hours of darkness.

In Sweden, it is compulsory for learners to practice driving in the dark. Even if they pass their driving test during the summer, many motorists in this part of Scandinavia will seek out a driving school throughout the winter months to undergo a night-driving course.

3.      The Netherlands: Help for nervous drivers

Many learner drivers suffer from pre-test nerves and anxiety. According to a major report by the University of Cambridge which was published in the medical journal Brain and Behavior, over eight million people across the UK suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder.

The driving test is not easy and can be quite stressful for learners. Chief driving examiner Lesley Young commented that: “It’s normal to be nervous before your test, but if you’re properly prepared and your instructor thinks you’re ready, then there’s really no reason to worry. Your examiner’s not trying to catch you out; they just want to make sure that you can drive safely.”

In the Netherlands, anxious drivers are offered a helping hand. Driving test candidates across that country can request a faalangstexamen — an examination that is carried out by an examiner who is trained specifically to deal with those sitting a test who feel very nervous.

4.      South Africa: Extra checks

Driving tests vary from country to country, and some have more unique requirements. For example, drivers taking their test in South Africa could potentially fail before even getting into the car. This is because one reason for failure is a driver forgetting to check under their car for any leaks. A motorist in the south-east London district of Chislehurst certainly could have benefitted from carrying out this procedure, after The Express reported that the driver was fined more than £1,000 for damage after their car leaked oil when it was parked up.

You don’t just have to keep an eye out for oil leaks, however. Motorists should also be regularly checking that their set of wheels isn’t leaking antifreeze, fuel, brake fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, windscreen washer fluid or water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Security Code: