New Driving Test Rollout Plan Revealed & More

by Adam Phillips - 3 Min Read

The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has launched its five-year strategy that details the agency’s plans for improving the driving and theory tests, rolling out the new driving test and more. Here are some of the choice highlights.

Revealing the Latest Driving and Theory Test Pass & Fail Rates
The agency reveals that 1.5 million car driving tests were carried out in 2015 to 2016 with a pass rate of 47%, roughly the same figure as in previous years – but it’s this continuing low pass rate that the DVSA is blaming for the high waiting times many learners have been experiencing.

The agency says that it is looking into increasing the choice of when and where driving tests can be offered to help deal with the delays In the meantime, the DVSA claims some progress has already been made:

11.9 weeks
The average waiting time for a car practical driving test in June 2016

5.4 weeks
The average waiting time in February 2017.

Turning to the theory test and it’s bad news – the pass rate continues to decline with the 2015-2016 rate standing at 49.3% compared to 2014-2015’s 51%. The DVSA sees the continuing downturn as a result of introducing new questions and no longer publishing the actual questions used in the theory test.

Promising Better Information & Training for Learners
To tackle the pass rate issue and boost road safety, the DVSA says it is examining different ways to aid learners. Ideas being explored include:

• Ways of improving driver training using technology including virtual reality

• Updating the driving test so it always reflects the latest technological innovations including driverless car features.

The DVSA also wants to ensure that newly qualified drivers aren’t forgotten by:

• Offering them the information and support they need to enjoy a safer driving career; one proposal is to send personalised advice to new drivers based on any faults incurred during their driving test.

Rolling Out the New Driving Test
The recent trials of the new-style test have been completed with nearly 4,000 people taking part in the consultation and 4,500 learner drivers trialling the new test itself.

Though final analysis of the research has yet to be finished by the DVSA, the agency plans to roll out the new test in 2017 to 2018 across all locations.

Revealing the Future for Driving Instructors
According to the DVSA’s official figures, there were 39,878 Approved Driving Instructors (ADI) as of March 2016 with 68.8% of ADIs achieving grade B (‘Sufficient’) at their most recent standards check:

We need to make sure that instructors have access to guidance and training to improve the service they provide. We want to improve the arrangements for motorcycle instructors [as well], to make sure that all instructors have to pass an assessment with DVSA.”

– Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency’s ‘Helping you stay safe on Britain’s roads’ report.

Tackling Driving Test Fraudsters
Nobody likes a cheater – especially the DVSA who has been cracking down on those either impersonating someone else for the purposes of helping them pass the test or using technology to cheat on the theory test via, say, a concealed Bluetooth device.

In 2015 to 2016, the agency acted on 818 reports of suspected impersonations linked to a whopping 2,144 driving or theory tests – as a result of the DVSA’s investigations, 355 people have been arrested.

Acting on Learner Feedback
The DVSA also published some of the feedback it’s received from learners about what improvements and changes they would like to see to make learning to drive more efficient and accessible. Some suggestions (and complaints) include:

“I started looking for a driving instructor but you can’t really tell who’s a good instructor.”

“Online driving tests, showing visually how to approach traffic lights, etc. with incidents happening on the way, such as having to pull in quickly.”

“Mock tests with the examiner would break the ice.”

“I went to book my test in October as I was ready and the earliest booking was December, so I had to wait and keep paying for lessons to keep practising.”

That’s the DVSA’s plan covered – but what other elements would you like to see addressed by the agency to ensure your learning experience is better? Let us know in the comments below. In the meantime, the full DVSA document can be viewed here.

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  1. David Smith

    If the DVSA had any serious concerns over improving the theory test then it needs to revert back to a written test. People will then have the need to learn/revise properly rather than take repeated mock tests through apps in the hope of learning the correct answer. Whilst this gets the right answers, there has been no learning or understanding taking place and once through the theory test, it is all too soon forgotten.

  2. Mrs J M Jenkins

    All drivers, learners or those with many years experience need to be very aware of others on the road and have a lot more patience. Expect the unexpected and think ahead an be prepared for other road users to do stupid things!

    Don’t lose your temper and be polite. Most people never look at the Highway Code once they pass their test – very sad – because it gets updated fairly regularly. I was a Road Safety examiner for the British Horse Society for around 12 years and took my Advanced Driving test at 70.

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