Learner drivers will be able to use the parking sensors on new cars to help them pass in the biggest test shake-up for nearly 20 years.
From December, the Government is dropping the expectation that new drivers will be able to reverse around a corner without mounting the curb.
Drivers will instead be expected to drive into and reverse out of a parking bay to ensure that the test is more like “real life”.
It’s vital that the test keeps up to date with new vehicle technology
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) also confirmed that learners will be able to use sensors which beep as drivers get closer to other cars and obstacles.
The more advanced video sensors will not be allowed, though.
Under the new test learner drivers will also have to safely use sat navs as they spend 20 minutes driving without direction – twice as much as at present.
Andrew Jones, a transport minister, 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.
“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.”
We need to better prepare new drivers for real-world driving
Edmund King, AA president
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, said: “It’s vital that the 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.
Those taking their test will also spend less time on quiet roads and cul-de-sacs to assess their ability to drive in busier areas.
Edmund King, AA president, said that the new test would help produce “better, safer motorists”.
He said: “New drivers are a higher risk on the roads. We need to better prepare them for real-world driving.
“These changes will test drivers in a more realistic manner which is essential to improving their safety once their L-plates are removed.”