It would appear that today’s new breed of van driver may well be a little older and have a little less cash in his pocket if the experts predictions about the new driving test come to fruition. The driving test is celebrating its 75th birthday and during all those years it has more or less stayed the same. However, on October 4th 2010 the new driving test will start, and before the prospective van driver can even think about getting a commercial vehicle insurance quote, he will first have to negotiate the 2 major changes from how the current test works. Firstly, instead of having to carry out 2 driving manoeuvres, the new requirement will only require one. The reason for this change is to make time for the new “independent driving” section of the test which is the second and really fundamental change to the examination.
The new “independent driving” part of the driving test will last around 10 minutes during which the examiner will not give the driver any instructions. Instead the examiner will give up to four directions whilst the vehicle is stationary, and the driver will have to drive to a location from memory. An example of this would have the examiner saying something akin to “Drive to the second roundabout and then take the 3rd exit, then take the fourth road on the left, and at the next roundabout take the 3rd exit.”
The driving agency carried out research which suggests the pass rate will drop from 42% to a mere 18%, which is less then 2 out of every 10. These changes have had a mixed response from all the different motoring groups, some like the idea saying it will prepare drivers for the real world as the test will be much more realistic and increase the standard of new drivers coming onto our roads, but would still prefer the test to include a section on motorway driving, while others say it will be just too hard to pass.
The new test which will take about 40 minutes to complete, ten minutes longer than the previous one, will be introduced on October 4 and cost the same £62. Learners will still have to take the theory test which was introduced in 1996.
John Lepine, general manager of the Motor Schools Association, said: ‘If the pass rates drop by those figures it will be a massive extra cost to learner drivers who already have a lot to pay. That’s a crazy amount for test results to plummet by.’