UK Government

Driving Standards Agency: Independent driving introduced into tests

Press Release   •   Sep 27, 2010 10:21 BST

• Decision-making assessment for candidates
• Change to all main categories of test
• Not a test of navigation

Independent driving will be introduced into the British driving test next Monday (4 October).

Candidates in all main categories of test will be asked to spend around 10 minutes demonstrating their ability to drive safely without step-by-step directions from an examiner.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said:
"The independent driving assessment gives test candidates the chance to show they have the necessary skills to cope with the sort of traffic conditions they will face every day.

"Learning those skills from the very start of the driving process will help make new drivers safer."

At the moment the examiner gives directions throughout the test. But during the independent drive, the candidate will have to follow traffic signs or a short series of verbal directions, or a combination of both. To help candidates understand where they are going when following verbal directions, the examiner will show a diagram. Candidates can also ask for a reminder as they drive.

DSA’s Chief Driving Examiner Trevor Wedge said:

"The aim of independent driving is to assess the candidate’s ability to drive safely whilst making decisions independently. It’s not a test of navigation and candidates won’t be failed for going off route.

"The test is being improved to help produce safer drivers, but that doesn’t mean it’s getting any harder. We know many instructors are already teaching independent driving."

In addition, practical car test candidates will only have to complete one of the three reversing manoeuvres, instead of two at present. Other categories of test remain unchanged. The price and duration of tests also stay the same.

• For further information or to request an interview, contact DSA press office on 0115 936 6135 or email

• For further information on independent driving go to or then practical test  |  |

Notes to Editors:

1. Independent research following trials of independent driving indicated that candidates were not likely to commit a significantly higher number of faults.

2. The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is one of the Executive Agencies that forms the Motoring and Freight Services (MFS) group, within the Department for Transport.

3. Information on road casualties is available from

4. DSA promotes road safety through setting standards for drivers, riders and trainers, testing drivers and riders fairly and efficiently, maintaining the registers of Approved Driving Instructors; Large Goods Vehicle Instructors; Fleet Trainers; `Driving Instructor Trainers and Post Test Motorcycle Trainers; supervising Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) for learner motorcyclists; and driver education and the provision of learning resources.

5. DSA is a trading fund with planned turnover of £201.4 million in 2010/11, largely funded through fees and revenue from other road safety initiatives. It delivers tests from over 400 practical driving test centres and 158 theory test centres.

6. DSA employs nearly 2,700 staff, of which almost 1,900 are driving examiners. In 2009/10 DSA conducted 1.5 million practical car tests, over 55,000 vocational tests. Over 8,500 motorcycle tests were delivered from 1 April 2009 to 26 April 2009. On 27 April 2009 the new, two part motorcycle test was introduced. 50,778 module one tests and 37,866 module two motorcycle tests were delivered between that date and 31 March 2009. A total of 1.5 million theory tests were carried out. At the end of 2009/2010 there were around 44,768 people on the Register of Approved Driving Instructors.

7. DSA was one of the first Government agencies to introduce an online booking service at


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