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DVSA Could Scrap Three-Point Turn from Practical Driving Test

As the DVSA looks to remove the three-point turn from the UK driving test, Book Theory Test Today looks at what will be the biggest shake-up of the exam in 20 years.

Book Theory Test Today says: “A newly devised practical test will see learners asked to use a satellite navigation system rather than following road signs. It’s understood that around 1,000 learners will participate in trialling the new look practical exam.”

Since 1935

The UK driving test was first introduced in 1935. During World War Two and the Suez crisis of 1956, the driving test was suspended. In 1975 the use of hand signals was scrapped and in 1996 the driving theory test was introduced.

In 1935, the pass rate for the UK practical driving exam was 63%, a higher success rate when compared with 2009, which saw just 46% of tests passed. Since 1946, over 46 million driving tests have been taken in the UK.


In a statement from a DVSA spokesperson, they said of the changes: “We are carrying out initial research to explore how the driving test could better reflect real-life driving. Any eventual changes will undergo a full public consultation.”

Proposed changes to the practical driving exam are the biggest since the introduction of the theory test in 1996 and the introduction of a section known as ‘independent driving’ in 2010, where a test candidate is asked to navigate their way to a final destination without instruction.

Other changes being considered include scrapping the reverse around a corner manoeuvre.

Book Theory Test Today says: “The changes are being considered in order to implement more common everyday manoeuvres, such as reversing out of a parking bay, or rejoining the flow of traffic from a stationary position at the side of the road.”

However, the DVSA was quick to quash any rumours that other ‘traditional’ manoeuvres would be scrapped, such as parallel parking.

Another possible change is likely to affect the vehicle-safety questions. Normally, a candidate is asked both questions at the beginning of the test. However, one of those questions may now be asked during the exam.

As an example the DVSA said: “A candidate may be asked to show how they would switch on the rear heated screen while driving.”

Chief Executive of the Driving Instructors Association (DIA), Carly Brookfield, is in favour of the plans, saying: “The DIA has been heavily involved in the scoping of this project and is enthusiastic about the opportunity it presents to evolve the L-test to a level where it more realistically assesses a candidate’s ability to competently and safely manage road based risk and driving in real life, on real roads.”

However, not all were in agreement with the DIA.

In a statement from Professor Stephen Glaister, Director of the RAC Foundation, he said: “We all rely on our sat navs, but they are not infallible and it is when they have led us down a dead end that we need to know how to do a three-point turn. It’s fine to add some aspects to the test, but we should be cautious about removing the basics.”

Book Theory Test Today offers an intermediary service assisting clients with booking a UK theory test, or practical test, at test centres across the nation. The service also supplies resources to help you prepare for your theory test – Ready to take your theory test? Book your theory test online today…



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