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Drivers call for further changes to new test

A third (33%) of the driving population say new test must go further to improve safety

Posted on 27 Jun 2017

Almost half (46%) welcome introduction of the sat nav, while a further half (46%) criticise new ‘dangerous’ reversing manoeuvre.
Motorists call for motorway driving (73%) and night driving (66%) to be introduced to the test.
Eight in 10 (80%) believe driving etiquette should be taught to eliminate behaviours such as middle lane hogging and tailgating.
Remains unclear how the new test will impact the pass rate which has risen slowly from 43% in 2007 to 47% in 20161. put the controversial changes to the test in FILM with driving instructor who disagrees with the updates.

Ahead of changes to the UK practical driving test, set to be introduced on 4th December 2017, one in three (33%) motorists believe the new test does not go far enough to improve road safety.

According to new research by, the no.1 site for car savings, the percentage of drivers who are unconvinced by the new test is equivalent to 15 million motorists2 – a significant portion of the UK driving population.

Despite resentment from some drivers, the Government hopes to make the practical test more up to date and reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on UK roads. This is especially aimed at those between the ages of 15 and 19 of whom a quarter of deaths are caused by road collisions3. And with two in five (40%) claiming that poor driving is caused by new motorists who have not been taught necessary road skills, it’s no wonder many agree the test should be updated.

Changes to the driving test, December 2017




 Reversing around a corner


 Turn in the road (three point turn)


 Increasing independent driving to 20 minutes


 Following directions from a sat nav


 Answering vehicle safety questions while driving


 Pulling up on the right-hand side of the road and reversing two car lengths


 Reversing out of a parking bay

However,’s research reveals the planned changes have been met with a mixed response from drivers. While almost half (46%) welcome the introduction of the sat nav and two in five (38%) are glad to see independent driving time doubling to 20 minutes, less than one in six (16%) agree with the removal of the three point turn. Worryingly nearly half (46%) question the safety of a new manoeuvre which requires drivers to pull over into oncoming traffic and reverse two car lengths. And with the pass rate having risen from 43% (2007) to 47% (2016) in the last decade1, it’s unclear how the updates will impact those learning to drive when the changes come into effect.

The research also suggests that the updates may be missed opportunity to address a shortfall in some other crucial skills and behaviours. For example, three in four motorists (73%) believe motorway driving should be tested. In fact, over half (51%) of qualified drivers said they would have felt more confident on the road after passing their test if they had been taught to drive on the motorway. And with the knowledge that young drivers have a higher proportion of accidents at night4, it’s no wonder two in three (66%) motorists believe driving in darker conditions should also form part of the changes. Drivers claim learners would also benefit from getting to grips improved cyclist awareness (49%), motorcyclist awareness (44%), and more experience with urban driving (29%) and rural driving (28%).

But drivers aren’t just calling for learners to broaden their skill set as two in five (38%) claim poor behaviour on the road is caused by new drivers picking up bad habits. So it’s little surprise 80% of motorists think driving etiquette should also form part of the test.  Reflecting on poor driving behaviour among new motorists more closely, a whopping two in three (65%) say the test should teach learners about falling into the trap of tailgating. While a further half (52%) say they should be warned about the dangers of middle lane hogging. And other common courtesy teachings should include mobile phone use (60%), roundabout (57%) and indicating etiquette (52%), and cutting in from a closed lane (48%).

The research also highlights almost one in five (18%) drivers believe it’s beneficial for learners to be taught about the financial side of owning a car, such as car insurance, petrol, parking, car finance and car maintenance. This is in order to give new motorists a better insight into realistic cost implications and teach them more affordable ways of running a car.


Percentage of motorists who believe this should be introduced to the driving test

 Motorway driving


 Night time driving




 Middle lane hogging


 Indicating etiquette


 Improved cyclist awareness


 All weather driving


 Selfish parking


 Thank you wave


 Financial knowledge


While challenging poor driving is important, worryingly, some driving instructors fundamentally disagree with the changes to the test in December. Hundreds of people have signed a driving instructor-led petition5 calling for the DVSA to abolish the new manoeuvre which most drivers will recognise as parallel parking into oncoming coming traffic, calling it a “dangerous exercise”. The DVSA response to the consultation6 notes that some respondents expressed concern about the pulling-up-on-the-right and reversing-out-of-a-parking-bay manoeuvres. However, they concluded that almost all the representative organisations were in favour of the proposals, which they felt represented real-life scenarios. To review the controversial updates, sent motoring editor Amanda Stretton to put the changes to the test in a film with driving instructor, Simon Carne, and took to the streets to sound out public opinion.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, said: “We hope that the new test will help new drivers to adapt to the modern conditions of our roads, especially through the independent driving task and using a sat nav. But it is worrying that one in three drivers (33%) believe these new changes are still not going far enough.

“To make the roads safer, drivers believe more practical changes should have been included in the new updates set to be implemented in December. To help improve the quality of driving on our roads, there is a valid argument that new drivers should be taught general road etiquette and how to treat fellow drivers. This could help to minimise stress levels, road rage, and the risk of accidents, providing all drivers an easy ride.

“It is also unsurprising too see that one in five (18%) drivers think it would be beneficial to learn about the cost of motoring, considering this is continuously rising. By educating them on car insurance, petrol prices, maintenance and other costs that come with owning a car, drivers will know how and where to keep costs down and make driving more affordable.”


Notes to Editors
Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll research on behalf of This was an online poll of 2,000 UK adults who drive (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 30th May 2017 and 5th June 2017.

2. Department for Transport figures show there are 45.5 million driving licence holders in Britain (Sept 2014) – 33% of this equals 15,015,000 (rounded up to 15 million).


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