History of the Driving Test

December 12, 2017

1931 The first edition of the Highway Code is published.

1935 A practical driving test becomes compulsory. There were no test centres, so the examiners met candidates at pre-arranged locations such as railway stations. Since then more than 46 million tests have been taken.

1939 Driving tests are suspended on 2 September 1939 for the duration of World War II. Examiners are redeployed to traffic duties and supervision of fuel rationing.

1969 A separate test for automatic vehicles is launched.

1996 The theory test is introduced, replacing questions about The Highway Code during the practical test.

1999 The length of the driving test is extended. Candidates can now be asked to make an emergency stop, and can be failed for committing 16 or more driving faults or “minors”. Photocard licences are also introduced for the first time.

2002 A hazard perception element is introduced to the theory test.

 



2003 ‘Show me tell me’ vehicle safety questions are added to the driving test.

2010 Independent driving is now part of the practical driving test. Candidates have to drive for 10 minutes with very little instruction from the examiner.

2017 The driving test changes on December 4 2017 to include following directions from a sat nav, testing different manoeuvres and answering a ‘show me’ safety question while driving.


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