Road Safety News

Abolish ‘dangerous’ part of the new driving test, petition demands

Monday 13th November 2017

More than 2,500 people have signed a petition calling for a manoeuvre which requires learners to park against oncoming traffic, to be removed from the new driving test.

The petition was launched earlier this year by driving instructor Tony Cove, who says the manoeuvre is ‘dangerous’ and ‘unnecessary’.

Mr Cove adds that the manoeuvre goes against the Highway Code, which states that drivers should not ‘park facing against the traffic flow’.

Coming into force on 4 December 2017, the new driving test will feature four key changes, including increasing the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes.

Other changes include replacing current manoeuvres such as ‘reverse around a corner’ with more real life scenarios, such as driving into and reversing out of a parking bay; while candidates will also be asked one of the two vehicle safety questions while driving, for example, asking candidates to use the rear heated screen.

The DVSA says currently candidates spend much of the test on low risk roads such as housing estates, so they can carry out the current manoeuvres. It says the new-style manoeuvres will allow assessors to examine the same skill set in a manner which is more representative of what a new driver will experience in everyday driving.

The new manoeuvre asks drivers to pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two car lengths and rejoin the traffic.

Tony Cove said: “I think the move is dangerous because not only does it mean you’re moving across oncoming traffic, you’re moving over two lanes. You’ve got to remember that these are inexperienced drivers who are being faced with a manoeuvre that I personally rarely use, and is also against the Highway Code. I just think it’s unnecessary.”

However, Gordon Witherspoon, deputy chief driving examiner at the DVSA, told the RAC: “DVSA is committed to helping people through a lifetime of safe driving and the new test will better assess a driver’s ability to drive safely and independently.

“The new manoeuvre reflects how people actually drive and it is vital they have the knowledge and skills to do it safely, which is why it is included.”

Category: Driver training.



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I presumed Andrew meant 'speed', as in 'speedING' Nigel i.e. going significantly faster than the average - consequently with little or no safety margin - which is why I suggested being able to stop (under control) would be a better skill to have. (Resisting the temptation to speed in the first place is obviously better)
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Good point, Hugh. But does Andrew actually mean, 'use speed safely', which is what it should be.

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Noted, Andrew, and there is obviously some logic to that. However, if you are going to succumbe to the way the average person drives, and most are like the next crash waiting to happen, where does the slide stop? You have to set standards somewhere and that is what the DSVA should be about. My recommendation would be that ADIs should advise drivers the reasons why parking on the opposite side of the road is a potentially unsafe manoeuvre, that is is against recommendations in the HC, and that if the average driver wants to do it it is up to them but, 'we (the ADI fraternity) do not teach it'. And then you have reversing out from a parking space; no driver worth their salt would be seen doing that - again primarily for safety reasons.

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Tongue in cheek I hope Andrew? If not, teaching pupils how to stop safely would be better!
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Obviously, since it's how people actually drive, the next logical step is to teach people the knowledge and skills to speed safely.
Andrew Fraser, STIRLING

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Well, I am very surprised at Graham Feest condoning a mannoeuvre which is a Do Not in the Highay Code, and which is illegal at night (except in a recognised parking place - who ever thought that one up?). It is principally unsafe and unsound and I commend anyone of influence standing up against its inclusion in the driving test. You really do ask what the DVSA is about when they have the strap line, Safe Driving for Life' and yet they are clearly seen to be lowering standards to the lowest common denominator. And for an ADI to be openly professing that he has been teaching this for the last 5 years - no further comment m'lord. (See also comments on the item about driving examiners set to strike)

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I have been teaching it for 5 years - even before the new test was announced. It is a required manoeuvre for modern day driving and if taught well will minimise risk of a crash.
Rob Tillier, Yateley

Agree (2) | Disagree (6)

In many countries it is illegal to park on the 'wrong' side of the road. Perhaps instead of including it in the driving test it should also be made illegal in the UK.
Robert Bolt Saint Albans

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It is very important that those objecting to this do not succeed. It is a common thing which people do and whilst it may not be best practice people will do it once and often immediately after passing their test when looking for a parking space. The test gas to be realistic to what people do providing it us legal. Full marks to those responsible for including it.
Graham Feest

Agree (10) | Disagree (14)