>> Independent Driving

>> Why use a driver trainer?

>> How long does it take to pass a practical driving test?

>> When is the best time to take my Theory?

>> What format does the theory test take?

>> What are some of the variables?

>> Is it better take a test at one centre as opposed to another?

>> How do I get my provisional licence?

>> How long is my International driving licence valid for?

>> How much does the test cost?

>> How much does the theory test cost?

>> Can I practice my theory test on-line?

>> Where is my nearest test centre?

>>What car do I take my test in?

>>How do I book my practical test?

Q: How long does it take to pass a practical driving test?

A: The national average of training hours taken to pass a practical driving test is 50 hours.

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Q: When is the best time to take my theory?

A: It is best to take your theory test whilst you are driver training, theory and practical work best together.

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Q: What format does the theory test take?

A:The theory test is in two parts - part 1 is a mutiple choice question and answer -part 2 is a series of 14video clips called hazard perception in which you identify 15 developing hazards.


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Q: What are some of the variables?

A: The practical test centre pass rate statistics are influenced by a number of factors. It is not necessarily true to say that some test centre's are easier than others, as the number and ability of candidates presented for test at any one centre can make a difference statistically. Socioeconomic factors also have a significant bearing on pass rates. The wealthier the town/area, the more likely people are to invest more money in lessons and to have more opportunities for private practice (access to family vehicle(s) etc.). The age and gender of the candidates will also affect the pass rate at the test centre. In general, younger candidates have a higher pass rate, and males have a higher pass rate than females.

Q: Is it better take a test at one centre as opposed to another?

A: The DSA is well aware of the variances in pass rates between test centre's. They monitor them very closely and, from the ongoing quality assurance work they carry out, they have established that there are acceptable reasons for the differences. Test centre's located in conurbations tend to have high throughput and lower pass rates. Those in rural areas tend to have higher pass rates but lower throughput. When comparing pass/fail statistics, it is important to take account of the differences in location, the deprivation of the local area and the age and gender of the candidates, alongside the number of tests conducted.

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Q: How do I get my provisional licence?

A: You can apply for your first British provisional driving licence online if you:

Apply on line for a provisional driving licence

* are a resident of Great Britain
* can meet the minimum age requirement
* can meet the minimum eyesight requirement
* are currently not prevented from driving for any reason
* can pay £50.00 by Mastercard, Visa, Maestro, Electron, Delta or Solo debit or credit card
* have a valid UK passport or another form of identity
* can provide addresses of where you have lived over the last three years

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Q: How long is my International driving licence valid for?

A: If you are the holder of an ordinary driving licence (car, moped, motorcycle entitlement) and provided your licence remains valid, you can drive any category of small vehicle shown on your licence for up to 12 months from the time you became resident. To ensure continuous driving entitlement a provisional GB licence must have been obtained and a driving test(s) passed before the 12-month period elapses. If you obtain a provisional licence during this period, you are not subject to provisional licence conditions eg displaying 'L' plates or being supervised by a qualified driver or being precluded from motorways.

However, if you do not pass a test within the 12-month concessionary period you will not be allowed to drive as a full licence holder and provisional licence conditions will apply. If you do not apply for a provisional licence within the first 12 months you must stop driving and obtain a British provisional licence with a view to passing a driving test. Provisional licence conditions will then apply.

If you are the holder of a vocational licence (minibus, bus, lorry entitlement) and a new resident, you must not drive large vehicles until you have passed the relevant GB driving test. Driving test candidates are required to pass a motor car (category B) test first before applying for provisional entitlement for larger vehicles.

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Q: How much does the test cost?

A: The car practcle test as at 30th March 2009

Weekdays £62.00 - Weekday evening and Weekend £75.00

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Q: How much does the theory test cost?

A: Standard fee for car and motorcycle £31.00

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Q: Can I practice my theory test on-line?

A: Yes you can register at this address Theory test on line booking

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Q: Where is my nearest test centre?

A: My nearest test centre can be found at Find my nearest test centre

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Q: What car do I take my test in?

A: You will take your test in the school car, there is no point in me training you to drive in the school car and then letting you loose in my Porsche for the test (you wish). The driving examiners do not supply vehicles for test.

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Q:How do I book my practical test?

A: Follow this link book your practical test and have your credit card to hand and your theory test certificate number and provisional driving licence number.

Q:Independent Driving

A: Independent driving section of the test
Your practical driving test will include approximately 10 minutes of independent driving. It's not a test of your orientation and navigation skills.
How the test works
During your test you'll have to drive independently by either following:
traffic signs
a series of directions
a combination of both
To help you understand where you are going when following verbal directions, the examiner will show you a diagram.
You can't use sat nav because the independent driving section tests how you make your own decisions.
If you forget the directions
It doesn't matter if you don't remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way - that can happen to the most experienced drivers.
Independent driving is not a test of your orientation and navigation skills. Driving independently means making your own decisions - this includes deciding when it's safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you're going.
If you ask for a reminder of the directions, the examiner will confirm them to you.
Download 'Independent driving route diagram example' (PDF, 315KB)
If you go off the independent driving route
If you go off the independent driving route it won't affect the result of your test unless you make a driving fault.
If you go off the route or take a wrong turning, the examiner will help you get back on the route. You can then continue with the independent driving.
If there are poor traffic signs
If there are poor or obscured traffic signs, the examiner will give you directions until you can see the next traffic sign. You won't need to have a detailed knowledge of the area.

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Q:Why use a driver trainer?

A: For those of us who leaned to drive many years ago, it would seem all too easy to assume that we would be able to teach someone else to do the same. After all, looking back, it now seems that it was an easy task, but at the time, perhaps a little frightening.

I took my driving test in Bournemouth in 1981, at a time when national statistics showed that there were 22 million vehicles on the road, driven by 28 million licence holders. Thirty years later, and those figures now read 33.8 million vehicles (+34%) and 38 million licence holders (+10.64%).

It is staggering how traffic on the roads has increased, mainly due to the increase in rail freight costs, the closure of railway hubs and marshaling yards, pushing bigger vehicles on to the roads. Those bigger vehicles have just got bigger due to recent European Legislation; the reason for all the bridge strengthening work that you have witnessed over the last seven years.

So, where are all these vehicles kept? We are under a false illusion to think that the majority of cars and motorbikes are kept in owner's garages; in fact they are parked on the sides of the road. This is mainly due to the sell-off of the housing stock in 1987, giving rise to a building spree of new housing stock, built without driveways or garages. So you can see that the 'demographic' of the road has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. But has new road construction kept pace with the increase of vehicle use? No! This has given rise to an increase of vehicles per road mile, in other words, less space.

What do motor insurance companies deal with? The first word that comes to mind is 'claims', but the insurance underwriters prefer to call it 'risk'. The risk is calculated by use of vehicle, experience of user, and risk of exposure to hitting another vehicle or obstacle, or the vehicle being 'borrowed without permission'. So the costs of insurance can vary from region to region. However, there is nothing like the 'STATS 19' information, collected at the scene of Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs) by the attending emergency services personnel, to highlight the most vulnerable road user. These figures point to the 17 – 24 age group.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is responsible for monitoring the driving standards on roads in GB, and the Driver and Vehicle Agency do the same in Northern Ireland. Both agencies are now working together with the driver training industry, to introduce a new standard of driving syllabus that will radically change the way that people are taught to drive. In the first instance, the shift will change from instructing to a mix of instructing and coaching; client-centred learning will also replace the hopeless and inadequate 'core competency' method that currently exists. The change in emphasis on training standards commenced a decade ago with the introduction of the Theory and Hazard Perception Tests, which a candidate had to successfully complete before being able to attempt a practical driving test. This intervention has ensured that a modicum of the highway code is known before driving alone, but, in this recent reshaping of driver training, it has been revealed that even this transient move is flawed insomuch that the public perceive it to be a stepping-stone process, which once achieved, has no bearing on road safety! Similarly, it is currently perceived that once the practical driving test is successfully completed, then there is no more to know about driving!

The Association of British Insurers is concerned. This is why insurance premiums have increased to such a degree in recent years. Industry and Commerce sectors have been asking for a change in emphasis on the placement of the practical driving test; asking that a compulsory post-test driver development syllabus be introduced in order to reduce the liability on company fleet motor insurance from 'wholly inexperienced and insufficiently prepared motorists when entering the driving for work sector'.

The first driving tests were introduced in 1935, with a highway code containing more adverts than rules. The first major changes to the driving test took place in the 70's and then not again until the late 90's. Due to the death of six vehicle recovery personnel on motorway hard shoulders in 2001, the DSA, in 2003, introduced the 'show me – tell me' aspect of the practical test. More recently, in 2011, we saw the introduction of independent driving.

In view that we have had an increase of 30% in traffic, two new parts added to the learning to drive syllabus, three major changes to the practical driving test and we are about to commence a complete overhaul of the driver training methodology, do you think as a parent, that you may now be a little out of touch with some of the driving principles? Take into consideration all the new in-vehicle technology, and taking on the burden of trying to teach your son and daughter to drive, it is now like trying to fight a war with obsolete weapons. You took a lot of time and effort to study the schools when they moved to year 7 to ensure that you could give them a good chance of a decent education. Please consider spending the same amount of time and when finding a driving instructor. They need the best start on the road to their career as well. They might be older and more mature than at year 7, but they are still yours.

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