Book Theory Test Today blogger writes of the official end to foreign language driving tests.
Well, the day has finally come; foreign language driving tests have officially been abolished as of the 7 April 2014. As previously reported by Book Theory Test Today the Secretary of State for Transport, as expected, made the announcement that foreign language theory tests will no longer be available and that interpreters will not be permitted for practical driving exams or the UK theory test.
In a statement from the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, he said: â€œWe want to ensure that all motorists have the right skills to use our roads safely and responsibly. One area where we can help to make this a reality is by requiring all test candidates to take the theory test or practical driving exam in the English or Welsh national languages.â€
Prior to the abolition of foreign languages, candidates taking a car or motorcycle theory test could do so with a voiceover. However, following a consultation, it was decided that an end to foreign language tests was required. These changes come as a result of concerns regarding potential safety issues of drivers not understanding the national language.
The cost of providing translations was also a key factor behind the abolition of such services. Book Theory Test Today understands that over 2000 people responded to initial consultations and of those 2000, 70 per cent supported the ceasing of foreign language voiceovers and interpretation services.
Although the provision of foreign language services has been halted the theory test will still be available with voiceovers in English or Welsh, but on a conditional basis, reserved for test candidates with dyslexia of other reading difficulties.
For deaf candidates, the theory test will still be available using British sign language and a sign language interpreter will also be permitted to be present on a practical driving exam.
Commenting further on the changes, McLoughlin said: â€œThey 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 theory test questions.â€
Commentators opposed to the changes said: â€œSuch a move is discriminatory, could you imagine the outrage if a Brit moved to France and was told they had to learn the language before they could take a driving test? Such measures serve to alienate ethnic groups and more foreigners will now try to bypass the rules by claiming to be dyslexic or have other reading problems.â€
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