EXAMINERS will walk out on strike next week in protest at “unacceptable” changes to the driving test.
Around 2,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union will hold a 48-hour strike from Monday — the day the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency introduces the biggest overhaul of the test in a generation.
The four major changes, which include following directions from a sat-nav, are intended to bring the UK test up-to-date with changes to technology to ensure all new drivers are equipped to deal with a lifetime of driving.
The DVSA said the changes will only apply to car driving tests to begin with.
But a PCS spokesman said its members wanted to send a “clear message to the DVSA and Department for Transport that they must think again”.
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The actions of the Department for Transport in trying to force detrimental changes onto our members has backfired.
“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.
The changes include:
Independent driving doubles
The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.
This part of the test will be around 20 minutes - roughly half of the test.
Following directions from a sat-nav
During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat-nav.
The examiner will provide the sat-nav (a TomTom Start 52) and set it up.
Learners will be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where they’re going if they’re not sure.
Reversing manoeuvres will be changed
The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested.
Learners will be asked to do one of three possible reversing manoeuvres:
Parallel park at the side of the road
Park in a bay — either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out
Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for two-car lengths and rejoin the traffic
Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving
The examiner will ask learners two-vehicle safety questions during their driving test — these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.
The examiner will still mark the test in the same way, and the same things will still count as faults.
The overall time of the driving test won’t change. It will still take around 40 minutes.
The driving test cost will also stay the same.