Learner drivers

Title: Driving Test Changes in 2017: impact summary

Organisation: Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
Date uploaded: 9th January 2019
Date published/launched: December 2018

The changes made to the driving test in December 2017 have resulted in learner drivers spending more time practicing on country roads and high speed dual carriageways.

This is one of the headline findings from an online survey sent to to more than 227,000 people who took the new-style test from 11 December 2017 to 17 February 2018,

The first survey, which was completed by more than 17,000 respondents, was sent two weeks after their test – regardless of whether they passed or failed. A second survey, completed by almost 2,300 drivers who had passed the test, was sent six months later.

The DVSA introduced the new-look driving test across England, Scotland and Wales on 4 December 2017. The changes included increasing the independent driving part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes, and asking candidates to follow directions from a sat nav.

The DVSA says these changes were made because most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways), and to train new drivers to use a sat nav safely.

The research show that drivers who took the new-style test had spent more time practising on country roads (44.2% did at least four hours) compared to people who took the old-style test (37.1%).

Similarly, 34.8% of those who took the new-style test said they spent less than two hours practising on country roads, compared to 40.7% who took the old-style test.

Drivers who took the new-style test also spent more time practising on high-speed dual carriageways (50.1% did at least four hours) compared to people who took the old-style test (46.6%).

23.6% of those who took the new-style test said they spent less than two hours practising on high-speed dual carriageways, compared to 28% who took the old-style test.

However, the DVSA says the survey shows that learner drivers who took the new-style test were also ‘slightly more likely’ to have never practised on a high-speed dual carriageway with an ADI, compared to those who took the old-style test.

With regard to sat nav usage, 86.3% of respondents said they have used sat nav ‘to some extent’ after passing the test.

The DVSA says the driving test changes were designed to ‘make sure new drivers have the skills they need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving’.

Six months after passing the new-style driving test, 81.2% of the new drivers who responded to the survey felt the test had prepared them for driving on Great Britain’s roads.

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