Driving test: Learner drivers must prove sat nav skills in huge shake-up

Francesca Gillett
Learner drivers will have to prove they can safely use sat navs: PA

Learner drivers will have to prove they can use sat navs to get their driving licence in a major shake-up of the test.

Under a massive overhaul of the driving exam by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, key manoeuvres such as reversing around a corner will be scrapped.

The changes will also include a doubling of amount of independent driving a learner must carry out to 20 minutes.

It is the most significant shake up of the test since the written theory exam was introduced in 1996, motoring research charity RAC Foundation said.

Transport minister Andrew Jones claimed the measures will help save lives. He said: "We have some of the safest roads in the world but we are always looking to make them safer.

"These changes announced today will help reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skills they need to use our roads safely.

Sat navs first emerged in the 2000s. (Getty Images)

"Ensuring the driving test is relevant in the 21st century, for example the introduction of sat navs, will go a long way towards doing this."

The new driving test will be used from December 4.

DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said: "DVSA's priority is to help you through a lifetime of safe driving.

"Making sure the driving test better assesses a driver's ability to drive safely and independently is part of our strategy to help you stay safe on Britain's roads.

"It's vital that the driving test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology and the areas where new drivers face the greatest risk once they've passed their test."

Around half of all car drivers own a sat nav and 70 per cent of respondents to a public consultation supported the DVSA's desire for drivers to be trained to use them safely.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said they will mean candidates will "undergo a far more realistic assessment of their readiness to take to the road unsupervised".

He went on: "Much has changed since the first driving test was taken in 1935, and it must be right that the test evolves, just as the cars we drive are themselves changing to incorporate ever more driver assist technology such as inbuilt sat nav systems.”

Additional reporting by Press Association.