United Kingdom driving test
The United Kingdom driving test is a test which all United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 learner drivers must pass to obtain a full driving licence
Driver's license
A driver's license/licence , or driving licence is an official document which states that a person may operate a motorized vehicle, such as a motorcycle, car, truck or a bus, on a public roadway. Most U.S...

. Different tests are available for users of different vehicles, from car
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 drivers, to motorcyclists
A motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.Motorcycles are one of the most...

 and HGV
Large Goods Vehicle
A large goods vehicle , is the European Union term for any truck with a gross combination mass of over...

 drivers. In Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 it is administered by the Driving Standards Agency
Driving Standards Agency
The Driving Standards Agency is an executive agency of the UK Department for Transport .DSA’s vision is 'Safe Driving for Life'. Its overall mission is to contribute to the public service agreement objective to achieve 40% reduction in riders and drivers killed or seriously injured in road...

 (DSA) and in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 by the Driver & Vehicle Agency
Driver & Vehicle Agency
The Driver & Vehicle Agency is a government agency of the Northern Ireland Department of the Environment. It was created in early 2007 through the merger of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland and the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency .The merger brought together roles which are...

 (DVA). The test is separated into three distinct parts: a multiple-choice theory test, a hazard perception test and the practical test. It is necessary to pass all three parts before a full driving licence is granted.

The minimum age at which one can take the driving test is currently 17. The test can be taken at 16 for those wanting to ride 50cc mopeds before they take the Compulsory Basic Training
Compulsory Basic Training
In the United Kingdom, the term Compulsory Basic Training is a preliminary vehicular training course which must be completed by people wishing to ride a motorcycle or moped unaccompanied on the road, and remains valid for 2 years upon completion...

, but this is not required for car drivers. There is no upper age limit. Full UK licence holders must renew their driving licences at the age of 70 (and every three years thereafter) in order to continue driving.

Around 1.6 million people sit the examination on an annual basis, with a pass rate of around 43%.


UK driving licences were introduced by the Motor Car Act 1903
Motor Car Act 1903
The Motor Car Act 1903 introduced registration of motor cars and licensing of drivers in the United Kingdom and increased the speed limit.-Context:...

 but no test was required.

A test for disabled drivers was introduced by the Road Traffic Act 1930
Road Traffic Act 1930
The Road Traffic Act 1930 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom introduced by the then Minister of Transport Herbert Morrison following the 1929 election which resulted in a hung parliament in which the Labour party won the most seats for the first time and Ramsay MacDonald became...


Legislation for compulsory testing was introduced for all new drivers with the Road Traffic Act 1934
Road Traffic Act 1934
The Road Traffic Act 1934 was Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom introduced by the then Minister of Transport Hore-Belisha after the 1931 general election which was won by the Conservative Party by an absolute majority of the votes cast...

. The test was initially voluntary to avoid a rush of candidates until 1 June 1935 when all people who had started to drive on or after 1 April 1934 needed to have passed the test.

Testing was suspended during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

Testing was suspended again during the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 in 1956 to allow examiners help to administer petrol rations.

The driving theory test was introduced in July 1996 as a written examination which was updated to a computer based test in

The hazard perception test was introduced in November 2002.

Theory test

Theory test is made up of two parts:
  • Multiple-choice test
  • Hazard perception test.

Both must be taken and passed in the same session in order to obtain a theory test pass certificate, which enables the candidate to book a practical driving test. The pass certificate is valid for two years, after which the theory test must be taken and passed again before taking a practical test.

Multiple-choice test

This part of the theory test is performed on a computer system. The test has 50 multiple choice questions and the candidate must answer at least 43 of them correctly to pass. Each question may have more than one answer and this will be indicated in the question. All questions are randomly selected from a bank of just under one thousand on a selection of topics.

The test lasts for 57 minutes although candidates with certain special needs can apply for more time. All 50 questions must be answered. The test allows 15 minutes practice time at the start of the exam to get used to answering the questions and how to use the system. To answer a question the candidate simply touches their choice of answer from the listed answers on the computer screen. If a mistake is made the candidate can deselect a choice and reselect a different option. The candidate is allowed to go back to a question at any time and can also flag questions they are unsure of in order to find and return to it quickly and easily later. To pass the test, 43 of the 50 questions (86%) must be answered correctly.

For lorry and bus drivers, 100 questions are asked over a 115-minute period, and 85 out of 100 must be answered correctly to pass. Prior to 3 September 2007, the car and motorcycle multiple-choice tests comprised 35 questions, with a pass mark of 30 within a 40 minute time limit.

Hazard perception

Examinees watch fourteen one-minute clips (nineteen clips for lorry and bus candidates) filmed from the perspective of a car driver and have to indicate, usually by clicking a mouse button or touching the screen, when they observe a developing hazard. All of the clips will include one developing hazard, and one will include two such hazards. The sooner an examinee reacts to a developing hazard, the more points are scored, from five down to one, with no score if the examinee reacts too late. Thus the maximum possible score is 75 (100 for lorry and bus tests). The pass mark is 44 (58.6%) for car drivers and motorcyclists and 57 when qualifying as an Approved Driving Instructor
Approved Driving Instructor
Approved Driving Instructor is a UK term for a trainer of car driving who has been tested and registered by the Driving Standards Agency...

. Lorry and Bus drivers must score 67 out of 100.

For the purposes of the test, a "developing hazard" is defined as something which requires the driver to adjust speed and/or direction. Potentialasd hazards are road hazards that no immediate action needs to be taken, but are worth observing in case their status changes. Clicking on potential hazards is acceptable, but the scoring window only opens if that hazard develops, thus examinees have to remember to react if the status of a hazard changes, and not just when the potential hazard is first spotted.

If you click several times during this window of time the computer will always take your highest score and record that for that particular clip.
If you don’t click the mouse button in this window of time you will score nothing in respect to that hazard.
If lots of unnecessary responses are made in a very short space of time, or throughout the clip, a zero score will recorded for that clip.

The Driving Standards Agency encourage learner drivers to read the highway code and practice their theory and hazard perception skills before they begin their driving lessons. There are many software packages available in CD format, online or for touchscreen devices for this purpose. Learner drivers can sit the Theory Test and Hazard Perception Test from the age of 17. Those on the higher rate component of Disability Living Allowance can are able to take the test at 16.

Practical test

It is necessary to have passed both components of the theory test before sitting this exam. Passing this test then entitles one to hold a full UK driving licence.


The practical test is taken on the road, with a professionally trained DSA examiner
Driving Examiner (United Kingdom)
In the United Kingdom, Driving Examiners are civil servants employed by the Driving Standards Agency for the purpose of conducting the practical element of driving tests...

 directing the candidate around a pre-determined route. The examiner marks the candidate for driving faults, serious faults, and dangerous faults. A candidate will fail the test if he or she accumulates any serious or dangerous faults, or more than fifteen driving faults. If a candidate accumulates several driving faults in the same category, the examiner may consider the fault habitual and mark a serious fault in that category. The test usually lasts 38 to 40 minutes in a standard test, or approximately 70 minutes when the candidate is taking an extended test after having had their licence revoked.

Eyesight test

Before getting to the car, the examiner will ask the candidate to read a car's number plate at a distance. The distance required is 20.5 metres for an old-style plate (A123 ABC) and 20 metres for a new style plate (AB51 ABC). If the candidate needs glasses to do this then these must be the ones worn whilst completing the rest of the test. If the candidate fails to read the first number plate correctly, then the examiner asks the candidate to read a second number plate. If the candidate cannot correctly read the second number plate, then the examiner must use a tape measure to measure the correct distance between the candidate and a third number plate. If the candidate cannot read the third number plate, then the candidate is deemed to have failed and the test will not continue.

Vehicle safety questions

Before the candidate is taken out onto the road, the examiner asks two questions about car maintenance and safety. These are phrased in the form "Show me..." and "Tell me..."; as such, this component of the test is often known as "Show me, tell me". For example:
  • Show me how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
  • Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has sufficient oil.

A failure to answer one or both of these questions correctly would result in a driving fault being marked against the candidate. The questions that may be asked are changed from time to time. From July 2008, there are 19 different questions which can be asked in 13 different combinations.

Controlled stop

The controlled stop, more commonly referred to as the "emergency stop", is an exercise which determines the ability of the candidate to stop the vehicle promptly yet under control during a simulated emergency. The simulation is performed by the examiner raising his or her hand and saying, "STOP!". The exercise should be carried out on approximately one out of every three tests, but must be carried out on every extended test. During dangerous weather conditions, such as rain and snow, this test can be left out for safety reasons.


During the test, the examiner will ask the candidate to carry out one manoeuvre from the following list:
  • Turn in the road (3 point turn)
  • Reverse around a corner
  • Reverse park into a space either parallel (on road), oblique or right-angle (in a marked bay in an off-road car park)

This change from two manoeuvres to one was introduced to allow time for the independent driving section of the test that was introduced on 4 October 2010.

Manoeuvres are selected at random by the examiner depending on the route chosen and conditions on route.

General driving

Generally, the candidate must demonstrate an ability to drive in various road and traffic conditions and react appropriately in actual risk situations. The conditions typically encountered on test include driving in urban areas as well as higher speed limit roads where possible; this includes dual carriageways but not motorways as motorways in Britain can only be used by full licence holders. The object of the test is to ensure that the candidate is well grounded in the basic principles of safe driving, and is sufficiently practised in them to be able to show, at the time of the test, that they are a competent and considerate driver and are not a source of danger to themselves or to other road users. The drive will include two or three normal stops at (and moving away from) the side of the road on level roads as well as on gradients, in addition to a demonstration of moving away from behind a stationary vehicle. The regulations state that the on-road driving time must be no less than 30 minutes.
If, at any point during the test, the examiner has to intervene with any controls, this will usually result in failure and could be marked on the test report as a dangerous fault.

Automatics on test

Many driving instructors offer tuition in automatic cars as well as manual cars, or may specialise in automatic driving lessons. If a learner passes the driving test in an automatic, then the full licence granted to them will entitle them to drive only automatic transmission cars or any other type of car which has only two pedals and no manually operated clutch (semi-automatics, automated manuals). The full automatic licence acts as a provisional licence for manual gearbox cars.

Independent driving

The practical driving test includes a 10 minute section of ‘independent driving’. It is included in the following practical driving tests:
  • car
  • motorcycle module two
  • large goods vehicle (LGV)
  • passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) tests
  • approved driving instructor (ADI) driving ability (sometimes called 'part two')
  • taxi

During the independent driving section, candidates have to drive by either following:
  • a series of directions
  • traffic signs
  • a combination of both

To help candidates understand where they are to go, the examiner may show them a route diagram. It does not matter if candidates do not remember every direction, nor if they deviate from the intended route unless they commit a driving fault.

If there are poor or obscured traffic signs, the examiner will give the candidate directions until they can see the next traffic sign. Candidates will not need to have a detailed knowledge of the area, but will not be allowed to use satellite navigation
Automotive navigation system
An automotive navigation system is a satellite navigation system designed for use in automobiles. It typically uses a GPS navigation device to acquire position data to locate the user on a road in the unit's map database. Using the road database, the unit can give directions to other locations...

 for this part of the test.

If the candidate has special needs, the examiner will be able to make reasonable adjustments. For the independent driving section, this could be asking the candidate which method they prefer - following signs, or a series of directions (a maximum of three)

See also

  • Driving test
    Driving test
    A driving test is a procedure designed to test a person's ability to drive a motor vehicle. It exists in various forms worldwide, and is often a requirement to pass the exam to obtain a driver's license...

  • Compulsory Basic Training
    Compulsory Basic Training
    In the United Kingdom, the term Compulsory Basic Training is a preliminary vehicular training course which must be completed by people wishing to ride a motorcycle or moped unaccompanied on the road, and remains valid for 2 years upon completion...

  • Pass Plus
    Pass Plus
    Pass Plus is a scheme run in the United Kingdom aimed at young drivers who have just passed the standard driving test. it helps very much becuase it gives you the confident to drive on your own.- Introduction and purpose :...

  • Motorbike practical test
    Motorbike practical test
    In April 2009 the UK practical motorcycle test changed to become two modules . To pass the practical motorcycle test candidates need to pass its two separate modules within two years of passing their motorcycle theory test. The first module will test candidates doing set manoeuvres on the...

  • Eco Driving

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.