January 30, 2014

Are Driving Tests Getting Harder?

Learners and new drivers would argue that the driving test is getting harder, but do experienced drivers agree? The number of first time passes is certainly dropping as is the number of young drivers, with many people leaving learning to drive until later on in life. A reason for this could be that the route to obtaining a full driver’s licence is getting harder.

Britannia looks at the history of the driving test in order to consider this question.

– Voluntary testing was introduced in March 1935 with a Mr J Beene being the first person to pass his driving test, at a cost of seven shillings and sixpence – £22 in today’s money. Compulsory testing began in June the same year. That year the pass rate stood at 63 per cent.

– In 1963, the voluntary register of approved driving instructors (ADIs) was set up meaning that in order to become an ADI, stringent written and practical test must be passed and in 1970, all instructors had to be officially registered.

– In 1975, the requirement of candidates to demonstrate arm signals was removed.

– From 1990, examiners were required to give candidates a brief explanation of faults committed during the test, plus advice on areas for improvement.

– The theory test was introduced in 1996 with the hazard perception test being introduced in 2002.

– Show me, tell me vehicle safety questions were added to the beginning of the practical test in 2003 and in 2010 independent driving became part of the test, with candidates having to drive for 10 minutes making their own decisions.

It is clear, therefore, that further assessments are now required of learners, but also both what is required of instructors and examiners has also developed as well perhaps allowing learners to become more and more prepared for their test in recent years.

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