MORE than 220,000 learner drivers are already booked in to the take the new format of test which is set to take over next week.

The changes being introduced on December 4 have been designed to try and help better prepare new drivers for driving on our modern roads.

Road collisions are one of the biggest killers of young people, as they account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.

The changes to the driving test will try and reduce this and make sure that new drivers have the knowledge and skills they need for a lifetime of safe driving.

The changes to the test are:

  • independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes,
  • 4 out of 5 candidates will follow directions from a sat nav,
  • reversing manoeuvres will be change,
  • answering a vehicle safety question whilst driving

Most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads. Changing the format of the test will also allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes, rather than quieter side streets, which the driving test has traditionally used.

Lesley Young, DVSA chief driving examiner, said: “DVSA’s priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving.

“New drivers are most at risk during the first few months of driving after they pass their test. We need to encourage more practice on a wider range of roads and traffic situations to reduce that risk.

“Changing the test to be more realistic to real life driving will better prepare drivers to keep safe.”

The new test, which has been independently assessed as low risk, includes a new manoeuvre of pulling up on the right.

It’s not always possible to pull up on the left. So, as well as being taught that it's best practice to pull up on the left, DVSA wants to make sure new drivers know what factors to take into account when they decide whether or not to pull up on the right.

Research shows that most of low-speed accidents happen in public car parks. These changes to the parking manoeuvres will give new drivers the skills and knowledge they need to bay park and use car parks safely.

Carly Brookfield, chairman of the National Association Strategic Partnership for driving instructors, said: “If we want to launch the next generation of safer new drivers onto our busy roads, then we need a test that better assesses a candidate's readiness for real life independent driving.

“The changes to the driving test are designed to achieve those key road safety goals, and have already undergone one of the largest and most rigorous trials and consultation processes ever seen in driver education to enable it to help deliver on that vision.”

John Lepine, general manager for The Motor Schools Association, added: “We welcome the changes to the driving test and believe that the key to safer drivers is better training and preparation.

"Improving the driving test will give new drivers more of the skills needed for everyday driving.

“The new test will help to prepare new drivers for a safer driving career and help to reduce road casualties.

“Our members have enjoyed being involved in the development of the new test and hope it will reduce new driver casualties.”