Wednesday 26th February 2020
Car theory tests revamped for improved accessibility

Changes are to be made to the current car theory test with the aim of helping would-be motorists to process the information better. The change is designed to help learner drivers with reading difficulties and disabilities to successfully take the test.

RAC reports:

Video clips will replace written scenarios in the driving theory test, making it more accessible for everyone, DVSA announced today, 18 February 2020.

The new video clips will show a scenario of different driving conditions, like driving through a town centre or on a country road. Learners will then need to answer 3 multiple-choice questions about the clip.

The changes follow research done with learners who have reading difficulties and disabilities. It showed learners felt more comfortable and confident with video scenarios, rather than written ones, as they were better able to process the information on screen.

DVSA Chief Driving Examiner, Mark Winn, said: "DVSA's priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving. "Being able to drive can be life changing and the DVSA is committed to helping everyone access the opportunities driving can offer. 

"We have worked closely with road safety experts and learners to create a theory test which fully tests a candidate's knowledge of the rules of the road and is more accessible."

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "This is a very positive change and should make the driving theory test accessible to many more people as watching case study videos is far more reflective of real-world driving than having to read them and then answer questions.

"We know from RAC research that being able to drive is an important milestone in people’s lives as it allows them to get around more easily. This is particularly true for those who live in more rural locations."

As well as making the test more accessible, DVSA say that the changes make the test more realistic, as it mirrors the way candidates take in and react to information while driving. 

DVSA worked with the National Autistic Society, the British Dyslexia Association and British Deaf Association amongst other organisations to develop the changes. 

John Rogers, from the Disability Driving Instructors said: "A picture paints a thousand words, especially for candidates with special educational needs.

"Having to go back and forth between the text in the written scenario and the written questions and answers was a big obstacle to understanding what was required. 

"Video scenarios should prove much easier to follow and the questions will hopefully appear more relevant." 

In 2019 the Department for Transport launched its Inclusive Transport Strategy designed to make the UK's transport system better for disabled people.

They claim the changes to the theory test will help improve access to driving, helping people stay in touch with friends and family, contribute to society and access vital services such as healthcare and education. 

The introduction of the new video clips only applies to the car theory test and will roll out in April.

Hopefully the video clips will prove to be easier for all hopeful drivers to follow and help improve access to driving. At Be Wiser, we wholeheartedly agree that the benefits and freedom driving can bring should be enjoyed and made accessible for more people. Not only will this change help those with reading difficulties and disabilities to take the test, but it could also provide an easier experience for those for whom English is not their first language, or even simply for people who are more visual learners. Anything that makes the test more similar to the real-life experience of driving is surely a step in the right direction for better testing and preparing those about to take to the roads.

If you are learning to drive and revising for your theory test, we recommend the official DVSA Learning Zone.

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