Today (1st June 2015) marks 80 years of the driving test in the UK.

Driving licences were introduced for vehicles in Great Britain in 1903. However it wasn’t until some 30 years later in June 1935 that a compulsory driving test was introduced.

The driving test has helped to save thousands of lives over the last 80 years. Learning to drive and taking the test gives drivers the skills they need to drive safely, and contributes to Great Britain’s roads being among the safest in the world.

Over the years the test has evolved to become far more advanced. In 1996 a separate theory test was introduced while in 2002 a hazard perception element was added to the theory test, using video clips to test awareness of road hazards. Then in January 2015, computer generated imagery replaced filmed video clips in the hazard perception test, allowing it to incorporate a wider range of hazards and driving environments.

The current practical test involves an eyesight check and a number of vehicle safety questions before any driving on the road. The driving part of the test lasts around 40 minutes. Throughout the test the examiner looks for an overall safe standard of driving. The test also includes around 10 minutes of independent driving, following either traffic signs, a series of verbal directions or a mix of both.

AA president Edmund King commented:

“The introduction of the compulsory driving test was a massive motoring milestone.

“For most people growing up, the great early achievements in life are learning to walk, talk, cycle, swim and drive.

“Learning to drive broadens our horizons and independence.”

As we all know, not everyone passes their driving test first time and it can be very disheartening for a motorist to continually fail their test. Many motorists have an inauspicious start to their driving career and the pass rate in 2013 to 2014 was just 47.1%. However should you be struggling to pass the test, spare a thought for the 26 year old woman from London, who failed her theory test 90 times – at a cost of £2,700. In a similar manner an unidentified 42-year-old man from Stoke has failed his test 36 times! Don’t give up just yet!

From the team at The Motoring Law Happy 80th Birthday Driving Test

By Ruth Peters

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