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.
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.
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 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.
From 19 Dec 2001, Candidates can now book their theory test via the internet
The Hazard test was added to the theory test on 14th November 2002.
1st September 2003 Show me/Tell me vehicle safety questions added to the beginning of the driving test.
Since 24 Oct 2003 you have been able to book the practical driving test on-line.
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.
Tuesday 6 April 2010 driving examiners start to ask if you would like your instructor to sit in with you on the test.
4th October 2010 Independent driving become part of the Driving Test.
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.
Video of a Driving Test in 1930s
Practice makes perfect, so get plenty of practice from a Approved Driving Instructor
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