The London Road Safety Council (LRSC) says more could be done to make sure the practical driving test is representative of modern day driving.
On Monday (4 Dec), the new-look practical driving test – introduced by the DVSA to ensure learner drivers ‘face a more realistic assessment of their driving ability’ and help them ‘prepare them for a lifetime of safe driving’ – came into effect.
In the new test learner drivers will drive for around 30 minutes, and will be expected to:
- Drive independently for around 20 minutes (an increase from the current 10 mins) while following directions from a sat nav or a series of traffic signs
- Do one of the following three reversing manoeuvres: parallel park at the side of the road, park in a bay (either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out), or pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and rejoin the traffic
- Answer a vehicle safety question while driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers.
However, Councillor Teji Barnes, the LRSC’s elected member representative for Hillingdon and chair of the Projects sub committee, says the new test should should be made longer and should include motorway driving and more time on rural roads.
Cllr Barnes, who is also an approved driving instructor (ADI), said:
“The new manoeuvre of parking on the right and then reversing back two car lengths was out for consultation for two years before the new test was introduced.
“I think lots of people focused on the introduction of the satnav element and the removal of the turning in the road and left corner reverse, and overlooked the new parking manoeuvre on the right until the test was launched.
“It has had little attention until now. Legally the manoeuvre is allowed, and is used frequently by many drivers.
“In my view, if the DVSA really wanted the new test to be representative of modern day driving, it should have included more driving on rural roads, and motorway driving should have been added.
“The test should be longer than 40 minutes and the turn in the road should have stayed – because, as we all know, satnavs don’t always get it right.”
06 December 2017