An L of a change

Blog post posted on 28/11/17 |

It’s often easy to forget as advanced drivers that our journey started, as did everyone else’s, as a learner driver. The kind of assessment that we had when learning to driver varies from person to person depending on how recently you passed your test. Britain’s young drivers are facing an imminent change to their driving test.

The date the DVSA driving test will change is 4 December. The new test will be adopting different manoeuvres and scrapping some of the old ones, and it will include a section where the candidate has to follow sat-nav instructions.

There will also be two vehicle safety questions asked during the test; a “tell me” question where the candidate will explain how they carry out a safety task at the start of the test, and a “show me” question where the candidate demonstrates how to perform a safety task such as using the windscreen washers whilst driving.

When I took my driving test in 2011 there was a change to the test incorporating more independent driving into the test, naturally this caused a lot of uncertainty with learner drivers who were scared that if they couldn’t remember specific instructions they might fail a test that they’d otherwise pass with the old format. With change imminent I expected the case to be the same with this latest change to the driving test, so at a young drivers’ road safety night last month I took the opportunity of talking to a number of learner drivers and driving instructors (including my own driving instructor) about it.

Amazingly not one of the people I spoke to (out of about 30) were worried or concerned about facing the new test. Most people said that they would prefer to pass under the old system but that was because they hoped to be at a standard to take their test before the changes were in place.

Learners felt that it was important to embrace vehicle technology rather than discourage it and some even felt that existing licence holders should undergo some kind of assessment to prove that they are competent using the equipment that their vehicle has … wouldn’t that cause a stir?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the latest changes to how our newest generation of drivers are to be tested, my email is

By David Gallagher, IAM RoadSmart younger driver ambassador