Government plots biggest motoring reform since 1935
New report to be published in October lays out plans for driving revolution - the biggest since test was introduced 80 years ago
The biggest set of motoring reforms since the driving test was introduced in 1935 are being planned by the Government.
Closing test centres, part-privatising the practical exam, upping the age limit for licence renewal and increasing fees for motoring services all feature in a consultation document, according to the Independent on Sunday.
The main target for ministers in the new report is believed to be the driving test pass rate which currently stands at just under 50 per cent. The report states "anecdotal" evidence suggests learners are booking tests after just a handful of lessons over fears they'll have to wait and subsequently failing. The waiting time hit eight weeks last year due to a shortage of examiners - above the Government's six week target.
To help, the Independent on Sunday reports that more flexible driving test slots will be introduced including more evening and weekend appointments. Examiners would be asked to take photos of the drivers as soon as they pass, too, so licences can be processed quicker.
However, the report also reveals driving test centres could be closed to cut costs and free up land for housing - while the DVSA and DVLA contact centres could be merged leading to loss of jobs. The Government would ask the private sector to fill any shortfall of examiners or test centres instead.
Government officials also believe extra revenue can be raised from hiking non-essential services like cherished number plates despite slashing the cost from £105 to £80 earlier this year.
The age limit for when a driver must declare themselves fit to drive could be raised from 70 to 75, too. It follows calls earlier this year to raise the age to 80 to cut costs and reduce adminstration.
The official report, due to be published in October and timed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the driving test this year, will form the basis of next year's strategy on the future of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and the Vehicle Certification Authority (VCA). It builds on the last Government's reforms which merged two agencies to create the DVSA while an attempt to semi-privatise the VCA failed.
The Department for Transport (DfT) is already conducting separate trials into a new driving test with some learners taking a revised test that features 20 minute independent driving following a sat-nav. The report says to expect more changes to be made to prepare the roads for the future of driverless cars.
The document states: "In the 130 years since Karl Benz built the first modern motor car there has been continuous and accelerated development of automotive technology. Such development will doubtless continue, with the prospect of driverless cars now a real possibility."
A DfT spokesman told the newspaper: “We are currently considering options for developing the motoring services agencies and will consult later in the year. We cannot at this stage comment on the detail.”
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