• The new test could potentially include more independent driving and more 'real life' scenarios for manoeuvres
  • Industry experts support the 'long overdue' changes to the test
  • The DVSA claims improvements to the test will hopefully reduce the number of fatal road traffic accidents

The driving test, first introduced in 1935, could face significant changes, following a government review and public consultation

The new test could potentially now include a longer period of independent driving, ask candidates to follow sat nav directions and replace some of the more traditional manoeuvres, like 'reversing around a corner' with real-life situations like driving into a parking bay. Learners could also be asked 'show me, tell me' questions during their test while they're driving, such as whether they know how to use the rear heated windscreen.

So far, more than 4,500 learner drivers and 850 instructors have taken part in trials to establish how effective this new style of test really is. Driving instructor associations, the RAC, the Institute of Advanced Motorists, The Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents and the AA have all reportedly taken part in the trial and are 'positive and supportive' of the changes.

Driving Instructors Association CEO, Carly Brookfield, said: "We fully welcome the developments to the test and are compelled by the evidence we have seen to date from the trial to recommend that these long overdue developments are made to a driving test - which has been fundamentally unchanged for over 20 years and has not kept pace with how our roads and driver behaviour has developed over time."

But why are the changes being made?

The DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) say that road collisions are the biggest killer of young people, accounting for more than a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19. 

They claim that improvements to the way learners are taught to drive and a more vigorous driving test will go some way to try and reduce the number of devastating road traffic accidents. 

With most fatal collisions happening on high-speed roads, changes to include these types of roads in the routes, should give learner drivers more experience and confidence once they've passed their test.

Also, the way in which people drive is changing – notably, drivers today are relying more and more on in-car satellite navigation systems to get them from A to B. According to the government website, 52% of car drivers now have a sat nav – and so, the DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely. 

While some newspapers have reported that young drivers welcome the improvements to the driving test, the changes aren't set in stone…yet. The government has held a public consultation asking for feedback on the driving test changes and will publish a full report with next steps in the coming months.