New data reveals that the controversial new driving test manoeuvre – pulling up on the right hand side of the road – could be boosting learner awareness, making them safer, better drivers.
When the new driving test was introduced at the end of last year, many of the changes were welcomed – save for one, which sees the learner now having to pull up on the right, reversing for two-car lengths and coming to a stop before rejoining traffic.
Its inclusion in the driving test caused consternation within the instructor and examiner communities with some saying that the manoeuvre was dangerous and contravened the Highway Code.
Fast forward nearly a year though and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is claiming that such new manoeuvres have had a positive impact on learner awareness and risk management skills, not a detrimental one.
According to official test statistics, there has been a 3.4% drop in driving faults when moving away safely; the DVSA believes this shows that learners are now more aware of the risk of moving away from the side of the road because of the ‘pull up to the right’ manoeuvre – and therefore, are better equipped to manage such manoeuvres both in the test and in the real world.
The agency also claims that driving faults on the forward-parking manoeuvre are also lower by 1.2%, again suggesting that learner awareness has improved.
For the DVSA at least, these stats will vindicate its belief that manoeuvres such as pulling up on the right were, well, right and that the aim – to ensure drivers had suitable experience of such manoeuvres for when they were driving by themselves – has paid off.
By including them in the test, the DVSA has always argued that the examiner would be in a better position to assess a learner’s risk management skills in the ‘real world’.
Change for the better?
Carly Brookfield, the CEO of the Driving Instructors Association, commented: “Despite the majority of the industry getting behind the changes, there were trainers who were opposed to the introduction of this manoeuvre.
“They may well remain cynical, and point to decreases in faults being minimal. However, any positive shift in a candidate’s ability to identify and better manage the real risks of independent driving should be welcomed – and are an early and encouraging indicator of the efficacy of the new test.”
Her views were echoed by Gordon Witherspoon, the DVSA’s Deputy Chief Driving Examiner: “It’s great to see the improvement in learner drivers’ awareness and risk management and how new drivers are more prepared for driving on their own once they pass their test. These were some of the goals when these changes were introduced.”