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Testing times ahead for new drivers

Driving test

New research suggests that half of all young motorists use a mobile phone for navigation, rather than an in-car sat nav.

This finding from a study of 2,000 motorists for Continental Tyres calls into question a key change to the new driving test.

The new test, which comes into force on December 4, will now include taking directions from a traditional sat nav and different driving manoeuvres.

However, the study also revealed that one in eight people admit to having a phone in their hand or lap when following driving directions.

Driving test examiners have raised safety concerns and are planning a 48-hour strike from the first day of the new test.

Examiners also say they are being told to work longer and harder for no extra pay and have called for the new test to be suspended pending a full safety review.

On a positive note, the new research confirmed that drivers want to see a revised driving exam focused on safety issues such as understanding the laws around mobile phones (64%) and routine checks including the minimum tyre tread depth (57%).

“It is clear to see that people want the new test to support improved road safety and deliver good driving practice as well as test skills,” said Mark Griffiths, safety expert at Continental Tyres.

“It’s good to know people want a stronger focus on safety checks, like how to check tyres, as well as the safe and legal use of mobile phones while driving.

“Our research found that six in 10 people are unaware that the driving test is about to change but when prompted people clearly want a different focus as well as regular test reviews.”

Almost half of all motorists (47%) think that the driving test, which was first introduced in 1935, should be updated when required to reflect new automotive technologies and changing driving practices.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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