Night Driving | Should it be Compulsory for Learner Drivers? Night Driving | Should it be Compulsory for Learner Drivers?
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Night Driving | Should it be Compulsory for Learner Drivers?

Driving experts are calling for learner drivers to be given night driving lessons on country roads. As the biggest shake-up of the driving test draws closer, Book Theory Test Today examines why experts want to see more learners taking night driving lessons.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is the latest to jump on the bandwagon calling for the overhaul of the DVSA practical driving test. They say that the test needs to change in order to combat the motoring problems faced by today’s young drivers, one of which is night driving.

80th anniversary

The current driving test was introduced in 1935, 12 months after the Road Traffic Act was passed in 1934, which paved the way for a compulsory driving exam. The test is now in its 80th year and it was not until 51 years later that any changes were made to the current format.

It was the arrival of the theory test in 1996 that represented a major change to driver testing. In 2002, the hazard perception element was added to further test a learner driver’s ability.


However, many current critics of the existing driving test say that it merely teaches young people to pass an exam, without actually evaluating a driver’s ability to cope with real motoring scenarios such as driving on country roads, driving in poor weather or night driving.

Graduated licensing system

IAM director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said: “The driving test needs to become a much more integrated part of a graduated licensing system that picks up on best practice from around the world.

For example, Austria has a ‘second phase’ licensing system, where young drivers come back in the first 12 months after the test for further interventions to examine attitude changes and skills.

The driving test does test a driver’s ability to a very high level, but it has fallen behind what is urgently needed today in 2015. This must be addressed as a matter of urgency by the next government.”

Motorway driving & night driving

The IAM also wants to see learners on motorways and that the modern motorist should be tested using current technologies such as sat nav systems.

Book Theory Test Today says: “It’s baffling that for all that you are allowed to learn as a learner, many things are neglected, like night driving and motorway driving. No matter how old the motorist is people learn by doing so night driving and driving on the motorway should become a compulsory part of driving lessons and the test.”

Chris Bloor, a driving instructor for close to 51 years, said: “Presently trials are taking place over the introduction of sat navs into modern day tests. It will see learner drivers have to follow a sat nav for about 10 minutes of their test because it’s seen as a more modern way of driving. Most people have sat navs now and a lot of new cars come with one included.”

She added: “Things such as night driving, adverse weather and country roads are actually covered in the pass plus test, an advanced motoring course for inexperienced drivers. However, many people passing their test opt not to do pass plus because it’s not compulsory, plus drivers have to pay for it.”

Improving road safety

The general consensus is that night driving, motorway driving and all other proposed driving test changes should be made compulsory. It’s deemed that the best way to improve safety among young drivers is through education.

Watch this space for updates on graduated licensing and driving test changes.

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