DVSA

Learning to drive, booking and taking a test: what’s changed

learning to drive
Wearing masks is compulsory for instructors and examiners; it’s also recommended for learner drivers (Picture iStock/Brankokosteski)

If your learning to drive was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll be relieved to hear things are getting back to normal.

Driving lessons have been held again since the beginning of July. Learners who feel they’re ready have been able to book a test since August 26. However, reserving a test slot has proved difficult because of technical difficulties with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) website. Read on to find out more about learning to drive and taking the test.

If you’re learning to drive

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Expert advice: how to get more trouble-free miles from your motor

trouble-free motoring
We can’t guarantee this won’t happen to you but follow our tips and it’ll be a lot less likely (Picture: iStock/Ljubaphoto)

How many trouble-free miles has your car covered? And perhaps more importantly how many more is it good for? Records by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) show there are more high mileage Skoda Octavias in the UK than any other vehicle. That’s currently 1950 UK-registered Octavias with a valid MOT that have done more than quarter of a million miles.

But how do you get that many trouble-free miles out of your car? It certainly doesn’t happen by accident. Here are my tips.

Have your car serviced regularly

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New MOT test is tougher but more cars pass it

new mot test

The government revamped the MOT test in May 2018 to make it tougher. But its first year in operation has seen a significant decrease in the number of vehicles failing the annual test.

Under the previous rules, around four in 10 cars (about 40 per cent) that took their MOT every year failed it. However, the first year of the new tougher test saw only about one in three cars (33 per cent) declared unroadworthy by testers.

Millions of cars taken off the road

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MOT changes reveal how many ‘dangerous’ cars are on Britain’s roads

MOT changes

Changes to Britain’s MOT test prove an alarming number of cars are on our roads in a potentially lethal state. Official figures show that nearly a third (32 per cent) of MOT failures were due to a dangerous defect.

In numbers, that’s 1.13m cars categorised as ‘dangerous’ after failing their MOT between the introduction of the revised test in May 2018 and the end of the year. This means the car is considered an immediate risk to road safety. The owner is then banned from driving the car until it’s been made road legal again.

However, the Government’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says more than half of MOT failures are preventable. Drivers, it says, could avoid the money and aggravation that an MOT failure can cause by conducting simple maintenance.

What are the MOT changes?

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Changes to the 2018 MOT: diesel cars face stricter emissions test

Changes to the 2018 MOT: diesel cars face stricter emissions test

Changes to the MOT will come into force this May, making it more difficult for dirty diesel cars to pass air quality tests. A three-tier rating for the severity of faults on all cars will also be introduced.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) claims the revisions to the MOT will make it tougher for anyone trying to cheat emissions tests and help keep vehicles in a dangerous condition off the road.

However, at the same time hundreds of thousands of cars more than 40-years old will no longer be required to take the annual road worthiness inspection. Here’s what motorists need to know about the changes.

Dirty diesels face stricter smoke test

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Cars to fail MOT if owners don’t get recall work carried out

Recall work

Cars could automatically fail their MOT if they haven’t had important recall work done. A government body has recommended that all MOT testers should check cars for any recall work. If this hasn’t been done, they will then be able to refuse to give the car a valid MOT certificate.

While car owners will bear the brunt of this, the move has actually been proposed to put pressure on car makers. The government wants them to work harder to ensure all recall work is carried out. The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has put these plans to the government. It is expecting to hear back by the end of March 2018.

The proposals come after Vauxhall was slammed by the Transport Select Committee for the way it handled fires affecting its Zafira B model. Chair of the committee, Lilian Greenwood MP said: “The public needs to be confident that their safety comes first.” Here’s what the changes could mean for drivers.

What is a recall?

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MOT 2018: what the changes are and what they mean for drivers

MOT changes

Next year the UK government is planning to bring in MOT changes. The tweaks to the annual vehicle roadworthiness test have been designed to make life easier for drivers preserving historically interesting ‘classic’ cars.

But critics say they will increase the number of unsafe cars on the country’s roads. Further changes are afoot too. The Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is currently considering the results of a consultation paper on the age that cars first take their MOT. Read on to find out more about the changes.

What are the changes to the MOT 2018?

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Motorway services: drivers urged to share good and bad examples

Motorway services: drivers urged to share good and bad examples

Motorway services and rest areas have long been the bane of drivers’ lives. Now anyone who is blowing a head gasket over the poor conditions of facilities can do something about it. Drivers of cars, vans and lorries are being urged to name and shame poor motorway service areas.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has launched a social media campaign. It wants to use people power to drive up the standards of services and rest areas across Britain.

The FTA is taking action after the government revealed it wants to fine drivers for not taking breaks away from their vehicle. Drivers who spend rest times in their cabs face a £300 fine. But HGV drivers complain that rest facilities on Britain’s motorway network leave a lot to be desired. They argue their full-fitted cabs are frequently more comfortable.

How do I share experiences of good or bad motorway services? Continue reading

Driving test: what young drivers can expect

New driving test

In order to handle a car legally on public roads in the UK, new drivers have to pass a 40-minute driving test. But to ensure the test better prepares drivers for modern motoring, the biggest shake up in 20 years is happening in December 2017.

The driving test will still last the same amount of time and still be marked the same way. It will still cost £62 on weekdays, £75 for evenings, weekends and bank holidays. But from Monday December 4, the driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will face the most far-reaching changes since the addition of the theory test in 1996. Here are the four new features budding drivers will encounter.

Increased independent driving

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Where to take your driving test if you want to pass it first time

Where to take your driving test if you want to pass first time

To many people, the driving test is a rite of passage. Like turning 16, heading off to university or arriving for the first day of work, ripping up the L-plates is something we all remember.

However, some drivers look back and feel a chill run down their spine. The driving test may have been one of the most stressful times of their life. And to make matters worse, it may have taken several attempts to pass.

All too often, that’s because they unwittingly sat the examination in an area with one of the lowest pass rates in the UK.

Believe it or not, at the UK’s toughest test centres, less than a third of candidates get their licence. The most successful areas see a staggering 80 per cent pass first time.

So the 1.5 million new drivers looking to pass every year should think carefully about where they take their theory and practical tests. Especially in light of the changes to the test, due to be introduced this December.

Plan ahead, and it could be as easy as mirror-signal-manoeuvre. Pick poorly and it could be more bump and grind.

Where’s best to take the driving test?

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