The changes at a glance

From Monday 4th June 2018, learner drivers will be able to take driving lessons on motorways with any one of our instructors.

This will help to make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely.

At the moment, you can only have motorway lessons after you’ve passed your driving test. Some newly-qualified drivers take lessons through the voluntary Pass Plus scheme.

How the change will work

Learner drivers will need to be:

  • accompanied by an approved driving instructor
  • driving a car fitted with dual controls

Any motorways lessons will be voluntary. It will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough for them.

The driving test will change from Monday 4 December 2017. The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.

All car driving tests taken from 4 December 2017 will follow the new format.
This includes if:

  • your pupil fails a test before then, and retakes it from 4 December 2017
  • your pupil’s test is cancelled or moved for any reason, and their new test date is from 4 December 2017

1. Independent driving will increase to 20 minutes

The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes – roughly half of the test.

2. Following directions from a sat nav

During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav. They’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where they’re going if they’re not sure.

It won’t matter if they go the wrong way, unless they make a fault while doing it. One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. Your pupil will need to follow traffic signs for around 20 minutes instead.

3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

We’ll ask your pupil to do one of these:

  • parallel park at the side of the road
  • park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell them which)
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic

The manoeuvre can be done during the independent driving part of the test. The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still teach them. The slow control and accuracy skills will then transfer to learning the revised manoeuvres.

4. Answering the ‘show me’ question while driving

The examiner will ask the ‘show me’ question (where your pupil shows how they’d carry out a safety task) while your pupil is driving.

For example, they might ask your pupil to show how they’d wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers. The ‘show me’ question can be asked during the independent driving part of the test. The ‘tell me’ question (where your pupil explains how they’d carry out a safety task) will still be asked at the start of the test, before your pupil starts driving.

Pass mark, length of test and cost not changing

The pass mark is staying the same. So, your pupils will pass if they make no more than 15 driving faults and no serious or dangerous faults.

The examiner will still assess the test in the same way, and the same things will still count as faults. The overall time of the driving test won’t change. It will still take around 40 minutes.

The driving test cost will also stay the same.

Why the changes are being made

Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. They account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.

Most fatal collisions happen on rural or high-speed roads (not including motorways). We want your pupils to spend more time driving on these roads with you, and during the test. This will better prepare them for driving on their own. Changing the manoeuvres we test means we won’t need to spend a disproportionate amount of time in quieter side roads. The revised manoeuvres can be carried out more naturally during the test. Using a sat nav will also help us to use better test routes with different types of roads. We currently rely on areas with suitable traffic signs – which are often urban and built-up areas.