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Driving test change to boost accessibility

Changes are being made to the driving theory test (David Jones/PA)
Changes are being made to the driving theory test (David Jones/PA)

Video clips are to replace written scenarios in UK driving theory tests to make them more accessible.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) announced that, from April 14, learners will be asked three questions after watching a driving clip of up to 30 seconds.

The change follows research which found that learners with reading difficulties and disabilities felt more comfortable with video scenarios than written ones.

DVSA chief driving examiner Mark Winn said: “Being able to drive can be life-changing and the DVSA is committed to helping everyone access the opportunities driving can offer.

“We have worked closely with road safety experts and learners to create a theory test which fully tests a candidate’s knowledge of the rules of the road and is more accessible.”

A scenario could show a car being driven through a town centre or on a country road, with three multiple-choice questions on issues such as safe overtaking or why motorcyclists are considered vulnerable road users.

The bid to improve access to driving comes after the Department for Transport launched its inclusive transport strategy in July 2018.

The DVSA worked with the National Autistic Society, the British Dyslexia Association and the British Deaf Association to develop the change.

John Rogers, of community interest company Disability Driving Instructors, said: “A picture paints a thousand words, especially for candidates with special educational needs.

“Having to go back and forth between the text in the written scenario and the written questions and answers was a big obstacle to understanding what was required.

“Video scenarios should prove much easier to follow and the questions will hopefully appear more relevant.”

Some 17 million theory tests have been conducted in the UK over the past 10 years.

Existing support for learners with reading difficulties, disabilities or health conditions includes extra time to take the test and having someone to read and reword questions for them.

The exam involves 50 multiple-choice questions and a hazard perception test.

Both sections must be passed before a learner can book a practical test.

A series of changes to the practical test in Britain came into force in December 2017.

They included following instructions from a satnav, a period of independent driving doubled to 20 minutes, and a refreshed selection of manoeuvres deemed more realistic.

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