Key Changes to the Driving Test


Did you know that half of all motorists are unaware of the minimum levels of vision needed to pass a driving test? Or that some parts of the test have recently changed?

As a leading supplier of nearly new and used WAVs across East Anglia, Ransome Mobility keep a close eye on all motoring matters.  Here we look at the recent changes to the driving test, how allowances have been made for motorists with a disability, and how we fit many different types of vehicle adaptations which should help you enjoy many years of safe motoring.

The First Steps

You will need to check that you are medically entitled to drive – check the DVLA website to see if there is any reason you should be excluded. If you are learning to drive for the first time you will need to apply for a provisional licence. Even if you hold a driving licence which pre-dates your disability, you must tell the DVLA about your circumstances.

The next step is to have tuition from a specialist driving instructor. They will be able to tell you about what aids are available, and often they will have access to vehicle with adaptations, so you won’t necessarily have to buy your own car at this stage.  Once they are satisfied with your progress, you can apply for a driving test.

The New Driving Test

The theory element of the test, which was introduced in 1996, remains unchanged and consists of a variety of multiple choice and hazard perception questions.  The candidate must pass the theory test before they can be entered for the practical driving element.

The recent changes to the practical test, which were introduced in December, mean the pupil must drive independently of the examiner’s instructions for 20 minutes, instead of the previous 10. During this time the driver must follow the instructions on the road signs, or, if required, obey a sat nav which has been installed in the vehicle.

Reversing manoeuvres have also been altered. Instead of driving backwards around a corner, motorists must either:

  • parallel park at the side of the road,
  • park in a designated space and then reverse in or out;
  • or pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car-lengths and rejoin the traffic safely.

The driver must also answer two questions set by the examiner. One, known as a ‘tell-me’, is asked before the beginning of the test, and relates to a specific safety task. The second, a ‘show-me’ question, calls on the pupil to demonstrate how to carry out a given manoeuvre, such as cleaning the car windscreen by using the wipers.

Ongoing Tests

Just because you have passed your test, this does not mean you can carry on driving for the rest of your life. One of the requirements of the current test is that you can must be able to read a car number plate from 20m (65ft) away, with the aid of glasses or lenses if necessary.

Motorists are legally obliged to make sure their vision does not deteriorate below this level after they pass their test, and to let the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency know if it does. However, a survey carried out by the DVLA found that only 50% of all drivers were aware of this.

Drivers over the age of 70 must make a declaration that they are fit to carry on driving, but they do not have to pass another test.

Making the Test Fully Accessible

Allowances have been made to make sure that motorists with any form of disability are not affected when they take their test. For instance, the examiner will be able to change the colour, contrast and volume of the sat nav to make sure it is suitable for whoever is in the driver’s seat, even if they have some form of visual or hearing impairment.

If the pupil has trouble reading out loud, then examiners will be allowed to write the registration number down instead for the eyesight test. The ‘show-me’ question will only be asked if the examiner is sure the test-taker can carry it out safely while the car is on the move.

You are allowed to use your own car for a test, including a wheelchair access vehicle. If it has been adapted for your own use, the examiner may spend a few minutes asking you questions to make sure it meets all the legal requirements. This includes checking it is fully taxed and insured.

All test centres should be accessible by ramps, but where this is not possible the examiner can meet the pupil in the test vehicle.

Used WAVs from Ransome Mobility

Ransome Mobility can find nearly new or used WAVs to meet all disabled motorists’ needs, serving customers in Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and across East Anglia. Follow the link above to find out what we currently have in stock. If you can’t see what you are looking for there, contact us and we will use our contacts in the industry to find what you want. And remember we can fit a wide range of vehicle adaptations, including easy release handbrakes, steering wheel balls, and push and pull hand controls.

We appreciate that wheelchair access vehicles are driven by able-bodied people, such as family members or carers, as well as disabled motorists, so we often fit cars with special devices such as twin-flip accelerators. This means the accelerator pedal can be fitted to the left or the right of the brake, helping make it suitable for both disabled and able-bodied drivers.

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