New style driving test will ‘deliver big safety benefits and save lives’ says IAM RoadSmart

Posted on 03/12/17 |

Britain’s biggest independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart says the new look driving test, which it helped to design and evaluate  will deliver ‘big safety benefits and save lives’ by including more real life situations and introducing new drivers to the latest technology.

The plans were announced by the Government on 30 December last year and will take effect from 4 December. The new format was test driven by thousands of leaners before it final implementation.  Those who had taken the new test were more confident and crucially, for IAM RoadSmart, had undertaken slightly more driving on country roads and dual carriageways.  It is well known that learners who practice more in a wider range of traffic situations make safer drivers in the long run.

The changes include the following:

  • Independent driving part of the test will increase from 10 to 20 minutes
  • Following directions from a sat-nav
  • Reversing manoeuvres will be changed (reverse around a corner and the three point turn will no longer be tested), but you will be asked to do one of three possible reversing manoeuvres instead including parking in a bay
  • Demonstrating vehicle safety knowledge while you’re driving

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Experts from IAM RoadSmart have helped to design and evaluate the new elements of the test and we are very excited about the road safety benefits it could deliver.

“Our key aim was to ensure the test reflects the real world as much as possible and also encourages learners to gain experience of as wide a range of traffic situations as possible.  By doubling the independent driving element of the test and introducing a sat-nav for an unknown route new drivers will have to practice more. 

“A common criticism of the old test was that it always used the same well known routes which L drivers could learn by rote!  The new reversing manoeuvres replace the three point turn which no one ever used and dealing with a bay is much more like everyday parking. 

“Finally, asking questions whilst driving can help the learner to multi task and deal with passengers.  New drivers with relevant skills and more experience can only be good news for road safety.”


Notes to editors:

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IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

To find out more about IAM RoadSmart products and services visit the new website                             

To find out more about IAM RoadSmart’s Driver Retraining Academy visit                    

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