Six Proposed Changes to Driving Tests UK

By Geoff

A proposal from DVSA to improve the availability and processes of the UK driving test

Sitting a driving test has to be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences – especially as a young person.

Even decades after you’ve passed, having someone in the front seat judging your driving can be off-putting.

On top of that, you have to perform to get that coveted pass certificate. Of course, it’s hard for a reason!

You’re operating an extremely powerful and potentially dangerous machine when driving. It makes sense that the driving test ought to be tough!

With that in mind, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (the DVSA) are proposing six potential changes to driving tests.

While they’re not set in stone yet, they could impact what it’s like to sit your driving test.

Read on to find out about the six proposed changes to driving tests!

1. You’ll have to wait 28 days to re-sit a failed test

Let’s face it – many of us fail our driving test on the first attempt. In fact, the average pass rate for car driving tests (between April and September 2021) is 50.5% (DVSA).

As it stands, you only have to wait ten working days before you can re-sit your test. Handy if you made a silly error! You can simply book another test in a fortnight and hopefully get the pass.

However, the DVSA is proposing that learners who fail should have to wait 28 working days until they can re-sit their test.

The main reason for doing so would be to reduce the number of people who rush through their lessons to take their tests – even if they’re not ready. A longer wait time is more likely to make people wait until they’re fully prepared.

While this makes sense, it would be frustrating for those who fail their test: especially if it’s due to a split-second mistake.

2. You’ll have to move or cancel your test at least ten working days before

As it stands, you can bottle taking your driving test up to 3 working days before and get a refund on your fees.

This proposal argues that this should increase to 10 working days before your appointment.

The DVSA argues that this will give more chances for appointments to be used by someone else.

They estimate that this could open up around 117,000 driving test appointments every year.

If you’ve ever tried to book a driving test appointment and been frustrated at the wait, you’ll probably be a fan of this proposal!

3. Driving instructors will need to hand their information over to the testing centre

Have you ever had a rubbish driving instructor?

Unfortunately, they’re out there!

While there’s a lot of training involved, sometimes a driving instructor’s teaching style just doesn’t match how you learn.

Driving instructors need to display their registration certificate during driving lessons as it stands right now.

However, there’s a loophole: the instructor doesn’t legally have to display the badge when the car is used for a driving test. And they often remove it from the vehicle to avoid identification.

Because during the test, the DVSA examiner will log some details about the driving instructor’s pupils such as:

  • Overall pass rate.
  • The average number of driving faults per test.
  • The average number of serious faults per test.
  • Percentage of tests where the driving examiner had to take physical action in the interests of public safety.

So if you’ve got a dodgy driving instructor who really shouldn’t be teaching, they’ll be found out. With no certificate on display, they cant be marked.

The new proposal will legally require the instructor to leave the certificate on the car for the driving test which is beneficial because it helps weed out instructors who aren’t up to scratch.

Suppose the statistics above aren’t looking great. In that case, the instructor will have to take a Driving Standards Check when a DVSA examiner will sit in on a session that the instructor has with a student.

We can’t argue with this! Better teaching means better drivers and saving learners money on potentially poor quality instruction.

4. You could find out a driving instructor’s performance online

Following on somewhat from the last step, the DVSA argues that learner drivers ought to have the right to see driving instructors’ performances online.

https://www.gov.uk/find-driving-schools-and-lessons

Currently, you can find driving instructors through the GOV.UK website and will see their:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Distance from the learner’s postcode.

The proposal is that more information would be available and create a ‘performance band’ of driving instructors.

While this would help find the best instructor, it will not be popular with driving instructors!

5. DVSA examiners can test your eyesight even when not in daylight

Unsurprisingly, you need to have a decent vision to drive a car. During your test, you’ll need to read out the number plate of a parked vehicle from about 20 metres away

The new proposal suggests that examiners can have more flexibility while checking whether a learner driver’s eyesight is good enough to drive. So what does that actually mean?

For one, it will allow examiners to test a learner’s eyesight even when not in daylight. The test would still be the same now, reading out a number plate at 20 metres.

One other option that the DVSA is suggesting is to have the learner driver use an app that would simulate a number plate at different distances. Useful if it’s too dark, or there isn’t a suitable car in sight.

Ultimately, this proposal shouldn’t be too controversial. We can all get behind, making sure drivers have the vision to stay safe!

6. Replace paper pass certificates with digital pass certificates

Yep, that’s right – the classic ‘social media picture of pass certificate next to driving instructor’s car’ might be a thing of the past!

This proposal does what it says on the tin. The DVSA estimates that this change would save over 2 million sheets of paper every year!

For a while now, the DVSA has been working to create digital driving licences to make it easier to check someone’s credentials (and to save you from losing the card). Changing the pass certificate to a digital version seems like along the same lines

When will these changes come into place?

For now, the government has not yet put these changes into motion. They’ve conducted a ‘consultation’, asking the general public (including learning drivers and driving instructors) to give feedback on the proposed changes.

After that, a report will be published this summer with this feedback.

How would you feel about these changes to driving tests?

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