June 9, 2010

Driving tests have long been criticised for being too hard. But now instructors can breathe a sigh of relief. A new test – slated for introduction in October – will put the onus squarely back on learner drivers.

Learners’ capabilities in the art of ‘independent driving’ will be tested in a new test section. This involves instructors instructing instructees to take them to a specified location (bookies, newsagent, pie shop etc…) 10 minutes’ drive away – then just sit back and enjoy the ride.

With no satnav to aid them, test-takers must rely instead on directions given by the instructor on departure – that and any road signs or unhelpfully shrugging non-local pedestrians they find along the way.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) claims the revised test will sort driving goats from sheep by mimicking what happens when people ‘get lost.’ Instructors will not be giving any clues along the way.

In tests of the new test, the DSA was happy to report five times as many mistakes by learners. With four out of five failing altogether, repeat test fees should increase significantly.

The DSA’s chief inquisitor Trevor Wedge said: “Evidence shows learning to drive alone is the biggest challenge faced by newly-qualified drivers. We believe this added element will lead to better and safer drivers.”

Sam Ghiza of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, approves. He claims: “You take away the examiners’ prompt to turn and instead have to work it out for yourself as you do in the real world. The changes will increase the standard of those coming onto our roads.”


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