Overhaul of the driving test could see an end to the three point turn

The Government are currently drawing up new plans to overhaul the driving test in an attempt to increase the pass rate and make the test more reflective of real-life driving.

Around 1,000 learner drivers will be asked to trial the new practical exam which will include the following changes:

  • The independent driving section will be extended to 20 minutes.
  • Learners will be asked to follow a satnav system to find their destination.
  • The three point turn and turn around the corner will be replaced with more everyday situations such as reversing from a parking bay.
  • Safety questions will also be asked during the examination. You may now be asked to demonstrate how to wash the windscreen or operate the heater while driving.

If the trial is successful, it could prove to be the biggest shake up to the driving test since the written theory exam was introduced in 1996.

Other changes which are also being considered but will not form part of the initial trial include:

  • The minimum learning time should take 120 hours of driving spread over a course of 1 year. This will need to be completed before you are able to take your practical test. 100 hours would be done during daylight and the remaining 20 would be done in the dark.
  • Motorway driving will be included in lessons and the driving test.
  • The age at which you can get a provisional licence may be reduced to 16 and possible 15 in the future.
  • The current 1 year probation for new drivers could be extended to 2 years. This is where a new driver can be banned from driving if they receive 6 points in the first year of them passing their test.
  • The costs of insuring your first car could fall due to the changes being proposed.
  • It may be illegal for new drivers to drive between the hours of 11pm and 7am.
  • For the first year or two years of passing your test, you will not be allowed to carry any passengers under the age of 30. This means it will be illegal to carry your own children as passengers.

The Driver Instructions Association has welcomed the changes. Carly Brookfield, chief executive of the DIA said “The DIA has been heavily involved in the scoping of this project and is enthusiastic about the opportunity it presents to evolve the L-Test to a level where it is more realistically assesses a candidate’s ability to competently and safely manage road-based risk and driving in real life, on real roads.”

Michael Lewin Solicitors is supportive of the new changes as it will ensure new drivers are equipped with the skills for everyday driving.

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