Learners face driving test changes

Driving test changes being introduced in Northern Ireland later this month will see learners having to navigate their way to a destination without instruction from their examiner.

The new independent driving section of the test is aimed at testing a person's ability to make decisions behind the wheel while remaining in control of the vehicle.

Learners will need to drive for ten minutes without any instruction from the examiner to pass this section of the test.

Research has shown that many people who have passed their test still lack confidence to drive independently because they are used to step-by-step instructions. This could lead to poor decisions, result in accidents and subsequent claims on theircar insurance policy.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said: "The change I am launching today, while a significant addition to the familiar driving test, should hold no fear for candidates. In fact the new test reflects what they want. It is designed to ensure that novice drivers, once they acquire a licence, have the skills, knowledge and confidence to be able to drive on their own.

"Once they pass the test novice drivers will have to make their own decisions regarding when to drive, where to drive to, how to get there, and who to drive with whilst driving safely - these are all issues that will be addressed in the new independent driving section of the test."

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