Changes to the way driving tests are conducted in future will mean that learner drivers will not be able to find out in advance of their driving test, the route the ‘examiner’ decides to take.
Presently, driving centres publish their test routes online, giving driving instructors an opportunity to coach learner students over that particular route, making them aware of all the dangers and advising them on how to approach every corner and every junction and so, be more confident during their test.
However Road Safety Minister Mike Penning says this isn’t representative of real driving and as a result, from the beginning of October, the Driving Standards Agency will no longer be publishing the information.
Apparently, this will allow candidates to demonstrate their real ability to drive safely in a more realistic situation, rather than simply practicing and then remembering a specific route.
Its claimed that the biggest problems students have after passing their test is being able to cope with driving, once their instructor isn’t there to help them, or prompt them at the right time and that these changes will help newly qualified drivers be able to make their own decisions and become safer drivers.
I understand this is being referred to as ‘independent driving’ and will involve candidates driving for around 10 minutes without step by step instructions from their examiner and will involve either the use of a series of instructions, a series of directions or following traffic signs or even being shown a simple diagram.
The rest of the driving test is going to remain as it presently is and the DSA have produced independent research which shows that with careful route design, candidates were able to complete the ‘independent’ driving test without any significant impact on pass rates, so expect those to remain the same.
I guess we can understand what the thought pattern behind this is and indeed, anything that makes new drivers safer on our roads is good, not just for us, but for them as well, but on the basis that most learner drivers have had quite a few lessons, I guess they’ve already driven on roads which are not the route the examiner is going to use, so we really cant see this making a dramatic difference.