What’s changing with the new driving test this year?
Why we think the pass rate may increase (slightly!)
Although the test is being marked in exactly the same way, the use of the SAT NAV system will replace the way in which the current test is conducted. i.e. following directional road signs. We feel that SAT NAV systems will actually provide more information to the pupil in planning for lane changes because of the instructions given.
For example, in the current driving test, the examiner might say “At the roundabout junction ahead I’d like you to follow the signs for Manchester”. This requires the candidate to recognise the sign and read the information correctly, and then to decide whether or not they need to change lanes before the roundabout.
With the SAT NAV system a pre programmed route will mean that the pupil will no longer have to rely on reading the sign. The SAT NAV will inform the pupil that they will be taking the 3rd exit from the roundabout and that they should move over to the next lane in good time.
Although the candidate is till being asked to follow the same route there is less anxiety caused by following a SAT NAV, and therfore we feel that this is less likely to mean that the pupil makes a serious or dangerous fault in the test.
In many cases pupils fail their driving test by committing just 1 or 2 serious driving faults, so if there is a reduced incidence of serious faults being committed then inevitably the pass rate will increase.
So this may be welcome news to pupils, however this should not mean that pupils attempt to take to take the test any sooner, although inevitably this is likely to happen.
A final word on road safety
New drivers are at the greatest risk of having an accident after their driving test with 1 in 5 new drivers having an accident within 6 months of passing. We believe that it is essential that instructors continue to teach pupils to deal with stressful situations and how to cope with going in the wrong direction. The heightened anxiety is very likely to be a factor in new drivers having an accident as a result.
Instructors are there not only to simply train pupils to pass the driving test but to improve road safety overall. The DVSA have a motto of “Safe Driving for Life”. Although learning to drive is not cheap it should be recognised that this is a skill that will serve pupils throughout their lives and therefore having extra lessons will inevitably reduce the risks.
If you have not already considered it, we offer Pass Plus courses which help you develop your middle and long distance driving skills. You will not have been on a motorway before your test and should always do this the first time in the company of an instructor or suitably qualified and experienced driver. The course also covers others aspects of driving that you may have no or very limited experience in dealing with such as night driving, country roads, high speed dual carriageways, city driving, and dealing with bad weather conditions.
Link to DVSA press release https://www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-test-changes-4-december-2017