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The History of the Driving Test

It has now been 80 years since the Road Traffic Act 1934 first introduced the UK to compulsory driving examinations. To celebrate this landmark we’re taking a look at the history of driving tests in the UK.

It has now been 80 years since the Road Traffic Act 1934 first introduced the UK to compulsory driving examinations. To celebrate this landmark we’re taking a look at the history of driving tests in the UK.

1934 Road Traffic Act
The first time the licensing authority could get applicants to ‘submit to a practical test of their ability’ marked the birth of the driving test in the UK.

1935 Compulsory Testing Introduced
L-plates were first introduced. To begin with examiners met candidates in public places and carried out 30 minute tests.

1995 Pass Plus Scheme Introduced

1996 Written Theory Exam Introduced
This first separated the practical from the theory. Multiple choice questions about The Highway Code formed the basis for this timed exam given in test centres. Drivers first had to pass the theory before they could sit their practical test. The pass mark was quickly raised from 26/35 to 30/35.

1999 Highway Code Revised
Changes were made to the practical examination, making it harder to pass. Candidates could be failed for committing 16 or more ‘minor faults’.

2000 Touch-Screen Theory Test Introduced

2002 Hazard Perception Exam Introduced
Video clips testing candidates’ awareness of hazards on the road were included as a part of the theory test.

2003 ‘Show Me’ ‘Tell Me’
New question types added to the beginning of the practical test.

2007 New Edition of The Highway Code published
Number of questions in theory test increased from 35 to 50.

2011 Case Study Added to Theory Test

2015 CGI Clips Introduced in Hazard Perception Test

The Future
From April this year a new practical exam, in which learners are to be tested on following Sat Nav directions, will be trialled at 20 selected driving test centres across the UK. Safety questions will be asked while on the move so as to simulate distractions people come across when driving. Other changes include replacing three-point turns and reversing around a corner with manoeuvres drivers are more likely to carry out like reversing out of a parking bay.

Initially the new test will only be booked for pupils who want to take part. It remains to be seen if these changes, designed to make the test more lifelike, will reduce the number of Road Traffic Accidents and become the future of driving tests in the UK.

For a free consultation with a Car Accident Solicitor call Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we will call you.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers are one of the largest personal injury law firms in the UK, with more than 1,450 staff in 18 offices across London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield, Merseyside, Derby and meetings rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and in Hull, Yorkshire.

 

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