Drivers to get safer - in theory

Drivers to extend safety knowledge
Drivers to extend safety knowledge

The driving theory test will be extended from next month as part of the government's efforts to improve driving standards.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) confirmed today that learner drivers will need to sit an extended theory test in order to encourage them to study the full breadth of the curriculum.

From September 3, learner drivers will have to answer 43 out of 50 questions correctly, up from 30 out of 35 under the current guidelines. The pass mark will remain the same at 86 per cent.

Jill Lewis, DSA's head of lifelong learning said: "It is important that candidates prepare thoroughly for their theory tests in the same way they would any other exam.

"Increasing the number of questions means that the test ensures comprehensive coverage of the whole syllabus."

Road Safety charity Brake said it "absolutely welcomed" the extended theory test.

However, a Brake spokeswoman said it was "by no means the answer" and would make minimal difference to road safety overall.

She told the government should introduce a graduated driver licence if it is serious about improving road safety.

Brake argues new road drivers should not enjoy full road privileges immediately after passing their test and should instead face restrictions such as a nighttime curfew and ban on underage passengers.

The IAM Motoring Trust also predicted the extended test would make little real difference, although said any efforts to boost driving experience were welcome.

The IAM has previously raised concerns that any moves to increase the cost of learning to drive may encourage a minority of younger drivers to take to the roads unlicensed and uninsured.

But a spokesman told the extended theory remains a relatively cheap aspect of the driving test and was unlikely to impact on young motorists.

The time allocated to candidates will increase to 57 minutes to accommodate the extended test. Fees will also rise from £21.50 to £28.50.

An updated version of the theory book and CD Rom is available now.


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