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Driving Test Language Support

Volume 558: debated on Tuesday 5 February 2013

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) today launched a consultation on the language support available to candidates taking theory and practical driving tests. The consultation seeks views on whether foreign language voiceovers and interpreters should continue to be provided or whether the statutory driving tests should be conducted only in the national languages (English and, in Wales, English and Welsh).

The reasons for adopting these proposals would be to:

Improve road safety—there is concern about the ability of non-English or Welsh speakers to understand road signs and other advice to drivers.

Enhance social cohesion—to encourage integration in society by learning the national language.

Reduce fraud—to address the problem of an interpreter attending for test with a learner driver and communicating advice beyond a strict translation of the theory test questions or the instructions given by the examiner.

Reduce costs—there will be a small saving to DSA from not paying a fee to the theory test service provider for the annual update of voiceovers.

There are three options for change. These include the removal of all voiceovers and translation services in non-national languages, as well as the retention of some elements of support. Consideration is also given to the option of making no change.

The consultation will run from 5 February to 2 April. The consultation paper is available at the following web address: