Driving instructors protest against 'dangerous' new test manoeuvre

Telegraph Reporters
driving test - © David Burton / Alamy Stock Photo

A “dangerous” manoeuvre that is prohibited under the Highway Code is to be included in the new driving test despite opposition from instructors, it has emerged.

Under changes being introduced to the new ‘L’ test, which comes into force in December, learner drivers will be required to perform a series of new manoeuvres.

But one element of the revamped assessment has been with opposition among driving instructors, who claim that it is a “dangerous exercise” which may imperil inexperienced drivers.

The manoeuvre responsible for the uproar requires learners to to pull up on the opposite side of the road, reverse two car lengths, and then rejoin traffic.

Introduced by the DVSA as one of three reversing manoeuvres - which include parallel parking and driving into a parking bay - it will replace former requirements such as a three-point turn and reversing around a corner.

In response, driving instructor Antony Cove has launched a petition online demanding that it be removed from the test.

The petition, which had gained 2,500 signatures by 7pm last night, claims that the manoeuvre contradicts rule 239 in the Highway Code, which states that: “If you have to stop on the roadside: Do not park facing against the traffic flow.”

While breaking the Highway Code does not automatically lead to prosecution, it can be used as evidence in court proceedings in order to determine liability.

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“This is an unnecessary and dangerous exercise,” Mr Cove added.

“Every driving instructor I've spoken to are totally against this idea as it's such a dangerous exercise.

“Imagine the situation where they [learners] pull up, reverse two car lengths so they're now fairly close to a car behind then a transit van or lorry pulls up in front of them?

“How are they going to move out safely? If they're starting to pull out blindly and the examiner sees something coming what does he or she do?

“Do they let them carry on putting themselves and others at risk of personal injury, let alone the potential damage to our cars?”

His comments appear to be supported by recent polling data compiled by Confused.com, which found that just 17 per cent of 2,000 UK motorists surveyed agreed with the new requirement.

The DVSA has defended the changes, stating that the new manoeuvre is more aligned to “how people actually drive”.

'The new test was trialled with more than 4,300 learner drivers and has the support of the driver training industry and road safety groups,” added Gordon Witherspoon, the body’s deputy chief driving examiner.