Radical Changes to the DVSA Driving Theory Test to Help People with Disabilities

The radical changes to the DVSA theory test will make it ‘more accessible’ for those with reading difficulties and other disabilities.

Road signs on paper next to a keyboard and mouse

The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have announced that the written questions on the driving theory test will be replaced by 30-second video clips in a bid to make the qualification easier to attain for those with reading difficulties.

The test is currently split into 2 sections, and the first part involves answering 50 multiple choice questions based on the 14 categories established by the DVSA, including road signs, safety, alertness and vulnerable road users.

This section of the test will now involve watching various 30-second video clips, with each one displaying a typical scenario - the person taking the test is then asked questions related to the clip.

For example, one video clip might show a car driving through a busy urban area with the questions relating to safe overtaking practice.

This new section will be introduced from April 14th 2020 and will precede the ‘hazard perception’ part of the test.


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Why are the changes being made?

Changes to the driving theory test are being implemented following extensive research, which found that those with certain health conditions and disabilities would feel more comfortable sitting a test that included less extended reading over a short period of time in a pressurised environment.

The existing support for those who qualify includes an additional time allowance to complete the test and having somebody on hand to read questions to them directly.

The changes are in-line with the Department for Transport’s (DFT) ‘inclusive transport strategy’ which was launched in 2018, with the idea of making transport in the UK better and more accessible for those with disabilities.

The upcoming changes also follow those that were made to the practical part of the driving test in 2017, which included following instructions from a sat-nav, multiple new manoeuvres and an extended period of independent driving.

What’s been said?

Mark Winn, the DVSA’s chief driving examiner, said:

“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.”

A spokesperson for Disability Driving Instructors, John Rodgers, added:

“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.”

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