Third of motorists think driving test changes insufficient, poll finds

A third of motorists do not believe upcoming changes to the driving test go far enough to tackle dangerous habits
A third of motorists do not believe upcoming changes to the driving test go far enough to tackle dangerous habits
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A third of motorists do not believe upcoming changes to the driving test go far enough to tackle dangerous habits.

From December 4 the test will include following instructions from a satnav, a period of independent driving doubled to 20 minutes and a refreshed selection of manoeuvres deemed more realistic, such as parallel parking rather than reversing round a corner.

It is the most significant shake-up of the test since the written theory exam was introduced in 1996.

When the measures were announced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in April, the Government said they would help save lives by improving standards.

But a survey of 2,000 UK drivers for insurance comparison firm Confused.com found that 33% do not think they will sufficiently increase road safety.

Almost three out of four (73%) want a motorway section to be added to the test, while two-thirds (66%) are in favour of making learners drive at night.

Some 80% of respondents believe driving etiquette should be taught in a bid to reduce middle lane hogging, tailgating and vehicles cutting in at the last moment.

Confused.com motoring editor Amanda Stretton said: "To make the roads safer, drivers believe more practical changes should have been included in the new updates set to be implemented in December.

"To help improve the quality of driving on our roads, there is a valid argument that new drivers should be taught general road etiquette and how to treat fellow drivers.

"This could help to minimise stress levels, road rage and the risk of accidents, providing all drivers an easy ride."

Driving instructor Simon Carne also warned that some of the changes "aren't going to make people safer".

He described one of the new manoeuvres - pulling up on the right hand side of the road, reversing for two car lengths and then rejoining traffic - as "unnecessarily dangerous" due to oncoming vehicles.

Mr Carne also criticised the removal of the three-point turn from the test, saying the decision "disappoints many of the instructors I've spoken to".

He said: "We all feel that this is a really important thing for students to learn. It's a really practical thing, which was the whole point of the changes.

"All drivers have to do it and it's a shame that it won't be part of the new test."

He said he hopes the DVSA will "take some of our opinions and comments on board".

The changes to the test were trialled for two years.

The DVSA said reducing the focus on slow speed manoeuvres on quiet roads will allow examiners to better assess the ability of learners to drive safely in busier areas, where new drivers have the most crashes.