As the UK Driving Test reaches 80 we look back at 1935 and possible changes in the future

anniversarioThe driving test is an intrinsic part of our culture in the UK. Whereas it may not be loved (especially for those about to take it and just want it over) it is regarded with a certain amount of fondness by all of us who can now drive and can look back at those challenging times with a laugh and a chuckle.

The good old UK driving test seems as English as fish and chips, warm pub beer, pork pies and obsessive queuing. This year it celebrates its 80th birthday and we have to say it has certainly a lot to be proud of looking back over the last 8 decades. But there is always room for improvement and many want to see the test make alterations to keep up with the major changes we see on a regular basis in this technological age.

The driving test family album

So let’s take a quick look back at driving in the thirties:

• In 1935 there were just 1.5 million cars on the road. Now there are a whopping 30 million
• In March 1935 the first voluntary testing was introduced
• In June 1935 compulsory testing was introduced. This may sound a little ironic but the   first person to pass his
test was a Mister Beene (no relation we hope!) and it would have cost him 37.5 pence.
• The test now costs £90.
• There were no test centres in 1935 so drivers used to meet the examiners in pre-arranged places.
• The pass rate in 1935 was 63%. Today it is around 50%.
• The test very much resembled the test of today. Minor changes such as the introduction of bay parking have been introduced over the years. The biggest change was the introduction of the theory test in 1996.

The great thing about the test is changes are still being made to keep up with the culture of the 21st century and the innovations in technology that are now sitting on our dashboards. In a previous article we reported the fact that Sat Navs will be taken into consideration in the driving test because they are now a fundamental tool for direction finding.

So what of the future?

The RAC has stated that they want the UK driving test to put more focus on experience after the initial driving test has been taken. In other words there would be gradations on your licence to signify you have had experience in certain scenarios such as driving in winter or driving in darkness. It also recommends restrictions in the first year of passing the test such as the amount of passengers that can be carried or late night driving. The RAC is putting forward that a full driving licence should only be awarded after 2 years of driving.

The IAM (Institute for Advanced Driving) seems to be in agreement but would also suggest a lower drink drive limit for new drivers, and the introduction of motorway driving into the test.

All of these proposed changes are due to the fact that road accidents remain the biggest killer of young people in the UK. Statistics suggest that nearly one in eight (11.9 per cent) of all road casualties are hurt or killed in collisions involving a car driver aged 17 to 19, despite the fact that this age group makes up only 1.5 per cent of licensed drivers.

If tightening up the driving test is likely to lower these figures then it has to be a good thing.

At Brighton Marina Driving Lessons we keep ahead of the news and new laws so our teaching ultimately keeps you safe on the roads. To find out more about booking driving lessons in Brighton call us on 01273 921906 or fill in our online form

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