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Foreign Language Driving Test to be Abolished by April 2014

Road Safety Minister, Robert Goodwill, has officially announced that driving test candidates will no longer have access to foreign language voiceovers and interpreters on their driving test, starting from April 7 2014, Book Theory Test Today can reveal.

The announcement follows a public consultation and it will be all change to current legislation.

At present, potential motorists can:

* Take their car and motorcycle driving theory tests with a voiceover in 1 of 19 foreign languages

* Use interpreters on driving theory tests and practical tests

This will cease from 7 April 2014.

In a statement from the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, he said:

“We want to make sure that all drivers have the right skills to use our roads safely and responsibly. One area where we can help ensure this is by requiring all driving theory test, and practical test, candidates to take the test in English or Welsh, the national languages.”

He added: “This will help to ensure that all new drivers will be able to understand traffic updates or emergency information when they pass their test. It will also help us to reduce the risk of fraud by stopping interpreters from indicating the correct answers to driving theory test questions.”

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) consulted earlier in 2013 on a series of proposals looking to overhaul the level of foreign language support made accessible to candidates.

The consultation was in response to concerns such as:

* Potential road safety implications

* The risk of fraud

* The cost of providing translations

Close to 2,000 people voiced their opinion on the proposals.

Out of the 2,000 people that responded, over 70% called for a withdrawal of foreign language voiceovers and interpreters on driving theory hazard perception tests, the multiple choice element of driving theory tests and the practical driving exam. The general consensus among respondents was that a lack of understanding of the national language could affect drivers in the following ways:

* Understanding traffic signs

* Speaking with traffic enforcement officers

* Reading details regarding the rules of the road

Respondents also suggested that withdrawing voiceovers and interpreters would encourage foreigners to learn the national language and improve social cohesion.

However, some leniencies have been granted, particularly candidates with special needs. Individuals suffering from dyslexia or similar reading limitations will still be allowed to take their theory test with an English or Welsh language voiceover.

Candidates suffering from hearing impediments will still be able to:

* Take their theory test in British sign language (BSL)

* Take a BSL interpreter with them on their practical test

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