The new driving test rules come into force on December 4th, but a proposed strike by thousands of examiners could delay this.
Some 2,000 examiners have expressed concern over a number of the new changes to the test.
Four key changes to the new test are being made which include:
– Increasing the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes
– Asking candidates to follow directions on a sat nav as an alternative to following road signs
– 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
– Asking one of the two vehicle safety questions while the candidate is driving, for example, asking candidates to use the rear heated screen
Instructors and examiners have begun petitioning against one of the new manoeuvres over concerns about the safety of it.
The new reversing manoeuvre which is set to replace the reverse around the corner manoeuvres would see drivers pull up on the right hand side of the road, reverse two car lengths and then rejoin traffic.
A call for a full safety review has been issued claiming that the new procedure contradicted the Highway Code.
Antony Cove, a driving instructor, started an e-petiiton to have the manoeuvre banned last month.
In the Highway Code under rule 239, it states that driver should not park against the flow of traffic.
Yesterday, 84 per cent of examiners who are members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) voted in favour of a strike in protest to the changes.
This may affect 14,500 driving tests, court cases relating to unsafe vehicles and motoring offences
A statement from the PCS said: “This may affect 14,500 driving tests, court cases relating to unsafe vehicles and motoring offences and roadside checks on HGV vehicles.”
The sat nav portion of the test was also criticised as examiners are required to complete seven full tests per day.
Each individual test post-update will take one hour and 20 minutes, which has prompted calls for the daily quota to be reduced to six.
The walkout will take place on December 4th which coincides with the changes.
Around 10,000 drivers are expected to take the test in early December, but this could be disrupted with the strike.
Driving test changes provoke strike among examiners
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary said: “Our members, whose jobs are about ensuring our roads are safe for drivers and pedestrians, have voted overwhelmingly to demonstrate that these changes are unacceptable.”
“Ministers can avoid this strike action by instructing their officials in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to scrap the plans and re-enter serious negotiations with PCS.”
Responding to the strike action, DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said: “The fact PCS is trying to undermine the launch of the new test by calling for strike action shows a shameful disregard for both road safety and learner drivers who have worked so hard to be ready to take their test.
“The new driving test has been designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.
Up to 10,000 planned driving tests could be disrupted by the planned strike
“It is one step in helping reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads.
“During the last 3 years the changes – which are welcomed by most examiners, road safety experts, disability groups and instructors – have been developed and trialled extensively with a wide range of our staff, learners and other organisations. Over 4000 candidates were involved in the trial.
“I met with PCS on 2nd November and they turned down my offer of mediation, although our offer still stands.
“This means that we cannot move forward together to resolve this dispute, for the sake of our staff and customers.”