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DVSA - Improving the car driving test Consultation23-08-2016  
This is the draft response from MSA GB it will be revised in response to any comments received from members and submitted to the DVSA on Thursday 25th August

If you have any comments on this consultation or this draft response please email them to john.lepine@msagb.co.uk

COMMENT

We support, all the changes proposed in this consultation.

However, we are concerned that the examiner training required to introduce these changes will result in less resources being devoted to delivering driving tests and even longer waiting times.

We therefore recommend that these changes are not introduced until the average waiting time for car practical tests is below 7.4 weeks the target in the DVSA business plan 2016-17 and we expect to see the waiting time target reduced to 6 weeks in 2017-18. No use improving the test if candidates have to wait 17 weeks to take it.

COLLECTIVE VIEW

The Motor Schools Association of Great Britain (MSA GB) makes the following response to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) consultation “Improving the car driving test”. We are members of The National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) and fully support their collective statement, which is attached as an appendix, this document expands on that statement to include the views of MSA GB members.

WHO WE REPRESENT

MSA GB is the national trade association for driving instructors and schools founded in 1935. Members of the association are in the main Driving Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructors (DVSA ADIs). We also have a partnership with the Institute of Large Goods Vehicle Driving Instructors and represent their interests together with those of potential driving instructors and a number of bus/coach instructors and motorcycle instructors. MSA GB is the voice for around 7,500 driver/rider trainers.

HOW WE GATHERED VIEWS

In order to gather the views of MSA GB member’s details of the consultation were circulated, via the relevant chairs, to all of the ten MSA GB committees of the regions and nations of Great Britain. Details of the consultation were published in our news magazine Newslink and on the associations’ web site at www.msagb.com. In addition, the information was transmitted to followers of MSA GB on social media sites.

In Newslink we published an indication of our intended response and invited members to comment.

PUBLICATION OF MSA GB COMMENTS

We are content for our response to this consultation to be published.

QUESTIONS WE HAVE ANSWERED

We have responded to all of the relevant questions raised in the consultation.

CONSULTATION QUESTIONS

Please tell us in what capacity you are responding.

MSA GB is the national trade association for driving instructors and schools founded in 1935. Members of the association are in the main Driving Standards Agency Approved Driving Instructors (DVSA ADIs). We also have a partnership with the Institute of Large Goods Vehicle Driving Instructors and represent their interests together with those of potential driving instructors and a number of bus/coach instructors and motorcycle instructors. MSA GB is the voice for around 7,500 driver/rider trainers.

  1. Have you taken part in the trial of the new test, in the capacity of an ADI (answers only requested from ADIs)?

Many of our members have, none have made any negative comments about the test trial.

  1. Have you taken part in the trial of the new test, in the capacity of a learner/accompanying driver (answers only requested from learner/newly qualified/accompanying drivers)?

N/A

  1. Do you agree with the proposal to increase the independent driving section of the test from 10 to 20 minutes?

Yes

  1. Have you any comments on the proposal to increase the independent driving section in the test from 10 to 20 minutes?

We believe this will help new drivers be better prepared to deal with everyday driving situations.

  1. Do you agree with the proposal to include the use of sat navs in the independent driving section?

Yes.

  1. Have you any comments on the proposal to include the use of sat navs in the independent driving section?

MSA GB members applaud this idea and believe it will make new drivers more capable of benefiting from the increasing use of in car technology. One member raised concerns about the positioning of sat navs during the test.

  1. How often do you replace your sat nav?

N/A

  1. Do you agree with the proposal to modify manoeuvres so they take place during the natural course of the drive and augmenting them with new, realistic exercises?

Yes.

  1. Have you any comments on the proposal to modify manoeuvres so they take place during the natural course of the drive and augmenting them with new, realistic exercises?

A small number of members have raised concerns regarding the proposed new manoeuvres that include reversing. The vast majority have raised no objections whatsoever and many have said they are looking forward to the benefits of using more open roads for training and assessment.

  1. Do you agree with the proposal to change the format of the vehicle safety questions so that one of the two questions is asked while on the move?

Yes.

  1. Do you have any comments on the proposal to change the format of the vehicle safety questions so that one of the two questions is asked while on the move?

We believe this is a sensible proposal as it makes new drivers more aware of real life situations where all drivers must from time to time operate auxiliary controls of one kind or another.

IN CONCLUSION

We eagerly anticipate the relevant parts of these changes also being rolled out to other vehicle categories and to the ADI Part 2 driving test.

We welcome the suggested improvements and we believe that the key to safer new drivers is better prepared new drivers. We believe that re-focusing the driving test, so that it concentrates on the skills required and used in every day driving, will allow driver trainers to better prepare learner drivers for a safer driving career on our roads and we fully support the NASP statement that they:

Consider that it is imperative that the new test assesses a candidate's ability to manage the risks of real life driving and should be fully prepared, when coming to test, to manage such manoeuvres - particularly as they are also core competences stipulated in the National standard for driving cars and light vans (category B).

We look forward to the introduction of an improved driving test once the wait for car driving tests is reduced below 7.4 weeks.


APPENDIX

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) Improving the car driving test Consultation

Response from: The National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP)

 

THE ORGANISATION

Each member organisation of the National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) the Approved Driving Instructors National Joint Council (ADI NJC); the Driving Instructors Association (DIA); the Driving Instructors Scottish Council (DISC) & the Motor Schools Association of Great Britain (MSA GB) have each responded individually to this consultation.

COLLECTIVE VIEW

Whilst NASP is supportive overall of the proposed changes, we must also reflect feedback from some members who have concerns over the introduction of the manoeuvres such as pulling up on the right and bay parking forwards into a bay. This is because some feel these manoeuvres pose more risks to all concerned when being carried out.

NASP consider that it is imperative that the new test assesses a candidate's ability to manage the risks of real life driving and should be fully prepared, when coming to test, to manage such manoeuvres - particularly as they are also core competences stipulated in the National standard for driving cars and light vans (category B).

One of our members DISC is against the proposal “pulling up on the right, reversing for two car lengths and parking the vehicle before starting off and re-joining the flow of traffic.” This is because they say that this contravenes Highway Code rule 239 which states “If you have to stop on the roadside: do not park facing against the traffic flow”.

We eagerly anticipate the relevant parts of these changes also being rolled out to other vehicle categories and to the ADI Part 2 driving test. We welcome the suggested improvements and we believe that the key to safer new drivers is better prepared new drivers. We believe that re-focusing the driving test, so that it concentrates on the skills required and used in every day driving, will allow driver trainers to better prepare learner drivers for a safer driving career on our roads.

However, we are concerned that the examiner training required to introduce these changes will result in less resources being devoted to delivering driving tests resulting in even longer waiting times.

We therefore recommend that these changes are not introduced until the average waiting time for car practical tests is below 7.4 weeks the figure targeted in the DVSA business plan 2016-17 and we expect to see the waiting time target reduced to 6 weeks in 2017-18. No use improving the test if candidates have to wait 17 weeks to take it.

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