Changes to the UK driving test: What you need to know

The UK driving test is already considered a tough test. You need a certain amount of skill to pass the test, and for good reason – drivers must be able to drive safely on the roads in order to help reduce accidents and make sure other road users are not put in danger. But the government plans to make changes to the driving test in order to further safeguard drivers and pedestrians. These changes will affect who can drive and how they drive.

Current UK driving test

Under current DVLA stipulations you must reach the required standard of driving and knowledge of driving safety in order to pass your driving test. You do not have to have a set number of lessons or hours on the road behind you before taking the test – you take it when you are ready. You must pass the sight test before you get in the vehicle, and you must take with you evidence of passing the theory test. During the practical driving test you will be tested in various conditions and using different roads and traffic flows. You will need to prove you can safely stop and move off, execute an emergency stop, and handle the car in reverse. There is a section where you need to drive independently, making decisions about where to go and how to drive in order to keep up with traffic and drive safely. Once you have proven you meet the standards, you will be passed.


Proposed changes

Under new guidelines developed through research commissioned by the government, the minimum age for driving in the United Kingdom could be increased to 18. There are also plans for a probationary period for new drivers. If the proposals go through, new drivers won’t be able to drive before they are 17 and will need to complete a “learner stage” that takes 12 months, during which time they must keep a driving log-book and clock up over 100 road-learning-hours. After passing the practical test, the driver will have a probationary license and will display P plates once they reach the age of 18. Other ideas concerning changes to the test and the driving procedure for new drivers include a night curfew for the first 12 months of independent driving – the driver will not be allowed to drive between 10pm and 5am unless accompanied by someone aged above 30. Stricter rules regarding the use of mobiles and alcohol intake will also be introduced. After all these conditions have been met the young driver will be awarded a “free” license without restrictions for driving.

Reasons for change

These guidelines have been suggested following research that shows 22 percent of deaths on the road involve a young driver 17-24. Under the current rules you can make an application for a driving license when you are three months away from your 17th birthday. Click here for information about the current driving license requirements, and to find out how to get in contact with the DVLA about changes to the driving test or other changes that affect young drivers in the UK.

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