UK Driving test – A Brief History

Although the first driving licences were introduced in the UK in 1903, the first driving tests didn’t take place until 1st June 1935. The first examiners were recruited from the police and services.

Driving tests were suspended during the second world war ( 1939 – 1945 ).

Up until 1975 hand signals had to be demonstrated during your test.

In april 1991 parking manoeuvres became part of the practical driving test. Currently the two parking manoeuvres consist of bay parking ( reversing into a bay in a car park ), and parallel parking ( reversing around a car to park at the roadside ).

In November 1995 the Pass Plus scheme is introduced to new drivers who have just passed their test. In July 1996 the theory test was introduced, consisting of a pen and paper type test on the highway code. It wasn’t until January 2000 that the computer theory test such that we see today came into effect.

November 2002 the Hazard perception section of the theory test is introduced.

Since September 2003 test candidates have had to answer two ‘ Show me, tell me ‘ questions about car maintenance/safety.

From April 2010 instructors were allowed to sit in on their pupils test.

October 2010 sees a new section of the driving test called ‘ Independent driving ‘, during which the candidate is asked to either follow signs,or a set of directions independantly for approximately 10 minutes of their test.

In January 2012 the multiple choice section of the theory test was changed to consist of questions unavailable in training materials, thus avoiding candidates memorizing answers to questions.

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