History of the UK Driving Test
The first car and driving licences were introduced in Britain in 1903.
The Driving Test was first started on British roads on 1st June 1935.
Because of the casualties on the roads, early Examiners were recruited from the services and Police.
In 1935 there were only 1.4m cars on the road – today there are over 38 million in the UK.
In 1939 Driving tests were suspended during the war (1939-46).
The car boom of the mid-fifties resulted in more new examiners recruited to fill the many vacancies.
In 1975, candidates still had to demonstrate hand signals (your Dad/Grandad remembers it well). The Driving Test. 1975 style
In April 1991 Reverse Parking manoeuvre becomes a compulsory part of the test.
In November 1995 The Pass Plus scheme is introduced to help newly qualified young drivers gain valuable driving experience and hopeful a discount on their car insurance.
In July 1996 theory test was introduced which was a pen and paper type. Examiners stopped asking questions on the Highway Code.
In Jan 2000 touch-screen Computer Theory Test was introduced.
In Dec 2001, Candidates can now book their theory test via the internet
In November 2002 Hazard test was added to the theory test
On 1st September 2003 Show me/Tell me vehicle safety questions added to the beginning of the driving test.
In October 2003 you have been able to book the practical driving test on-line.
On 6 April 2010 driving examiners start to ask if you would like your instructor to sit in with you on the test.
On 4th October 2010 Independent driving become part of the Driving Test.
On 23rd January 2012 the multiple choice part of the UK driving Theory Test has been made up of questions that are no longer available in training materials. Revision materials will still be available but in the form of Revision Question Bank.
On 4th December 2017 the 3 point turn and turn in the road was dropped from the driving test.
On 4th December 2017 Sat Navs used in Independent driving and is increased to 20 minutes(half of the total test time) Oddly, One in 5 driving tests won't use a sat nav. You'll need to follow traffic signs instead.
On 4th December 2017 New reversing manoeuvre added. Pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic.How to do:- Pull up on the right and reverse
On 4th December 2017 Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving. You now have to answer one 'show me ' question while you drive and one question before the test.
In March 2020 Due to the Coronavirus, Driving Test were Cancelled in the UK for over 3 Months. Theory tests were also cancelled.
On 28th September 2020 Video clips replaced written scenarios in UK driving theory tests to make them more accessible.
The video below, made by FORD, was shown to reassure would-be drivers that the test was not something to fear. The commentary is witty and the video shows some of the hazards a new motorist might expect to encounter on the roads of the 1930s.
Video of a Driving Test in 1930s. We wonder how many would pass now!
View more ClipsVideo Lesson Index page