To become a fully licensed vehicle driver in the United Kingdom, individuals have to undergo a competency test. The tests vary according to the type of car driven. Tests are conducted by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. Anyone aged 17 and older is eligible to go for a driving test.
There are two parts to the driving test; theory and practical.
Theory Test Part 1 and 2
This section consists of a multiple-choice and hazard perception test. Both of these sections of the theory test are required to be passed in order to qualify for a practical driving test. If the theory test is passed, the applicant has within two years to book and pass a practical test.
Multiple-Choice Test – Part 1
The test consists of 50 multiple-choice questions which are answered by the applicant on a computer. 43 correct answers or more are considered a pass. Time allocated for this part of the theory section is just under an hour. 15 minutes at the beginning of the test allows applicants to familiarize themselves with using the computer.
Hazard Perception Test – Part 2
Out of fourteen video clips an applicant has to watch, this test is marked out of 75 marks. Applicants are required to obtain a minimum of 44 marks to pass. The clips depict hazardous driving situations of which the applicant, by clicking on the mouse button, have to indicate accordingly with each given hazard. This tests the applicant’s observational and awareness skills.
Practical Driving Test
Whether an applicant is driving an automatic or manual vehicle, tests and licenses are conducted and issued respectively. If a driver is licensed for an automatic vehicle, the individual is only allowed to drive an automatic vehicle and vice versa. This test is conducted on a road with a qualified DVSA inspector.
At the beginning of the test, the applicant is required to read a number plate from a set distance. If unsuccessful at first, a second number plate is read. A third attempt is allowed. However, if the applicant is still unable to read the number plate, the driving test is failed and the temporary license is withdrawn.
This road test is approximately 40 minutes conducted on a planned route. The inspector marks the applicant’s driving according to driving faults, serious faults, and dangerous faults. More than one serious or dangerous fault is an automatic fail. However, over 15 driving faults is also an immediate failure.
Questions are asked before and during the test to ascertain the applicant’s knowledge of vehicle safety hazards and measures.
Testing the applicant’s ability to safely stop the vehicle in an emergency situation without compromising other motorists. If there are adverse weather conditions, this part of the test is not required for safety reasons.
The applicant either has to drive to a location following traffic signs or verbal instructions.
Observe and listen. Safety always first!