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Observer on driving test – The DSA backs down

The controversial plan for all learner drivers to be accompanied on driving test by their driving instructor from October 2010 has been partially scrapped.

learner-driver-on-testA meeting was held at DSA’s Headquarters with ADI representative organisations on 24th September 2009. At the meeting, the DSA responded to the objections raised by ADI’s and ADI organisations to the original proposal of making it mandatory for supervising drivers to accompany candidates on all driving tests.

DSA Chief Executive Rosemary Thew explained that the DSA had reflected on the points raised.  Chief Operating Manager Brian Gilhooley read out the following statement:

“The proposal that candidates should be required to take an observer with them on their practical car driving test from October 2010 has generated a great deal of debate. DSA has received comments from a variety of stakeholders and has met with the ADI Consultative Groups and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS). We have listened carefully to all the views expressed. We remain convinced that an observer sitting in on test will enhance the learning process, which, in turn, will provide road safety benefits. We recognise, however, that there are valid reasons why an approach based on education and incentivisation might be preferable to mandating through regulation at this stage.

“So this is the approach we suggest: at the start of the test, driving examiners will ask all candidates if they would like their driving instructor (or another observer, such as a parent, guardian or friend who has taught the candidate to drive) to sit in on their test. The examiner will then ask the candidate if they would like their instructor be present for the test result and debrief. This will allow candidates to take advantage of the opportunities available to support their ongoing learning and development, but will leave the final decision with them.

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Examiner withdraws driving test pass

Wannabe motorist Cara Griffiths, 28, from Romford, has been driven to despair after passing her driving test, only to be told hours later that she hadn’t because the examiner didn’t conduct her test properly.

According to the Romford & Havering Post, Cara cruised through her driving test first time with only five minor driving faults, observed by two examiners from the Hornchurch Test Centre.

She was presented with her driving test pass certificate and was so pleased that she immediately phoned family and friends to tell them her fantastic news. But Cara’s celebrations were short-lived when examiners contacted her four hours later to tell her that the pass certificate was invalid because the examiner had made a mistake during the test.

“I got home chuffed to bits as I’ve wanted to do this for years, only to be told I had failed,” said Cara, who has spent more than £600 on lessons and tests. “I drove exactly how I was instructed, but the examiner had only done one manoeuvre and forgotten to do a second one. Now I’m being penalised and have failed the test.”

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New ECOlogical driving test launched

An ECOlogical driving test was launched on 1st September 2009.  The test is designed to assess the driver’s fuel economy and accident avoidance skills.

This new test is set to become a vocational test and is being closely watched by Whitehall.

The voluntary 90-minute test provides a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).   Drivers will pass if they demonstrate a high level of safe, defensive and environmentally friendly driving.  The Eco-Advanced Driving Test costs £160 and will test drivers on most types of road situation.

Drivers who are successful could benefit from:

  • fuel consumption savings up to 15% below the vehicle’s official average
  • reduced risk of incidents and reduced vehicle wear and tear by up to 60%
  • maximum vehicle insurance discounts
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