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Driving Tests

Volume 632: debated on Thursday 30 November 2017

20. What recent discussions he has had with (a) the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and (b) the Public and Commercial Services union on new components of the driving test to be introduced on 4 December 2017. (902677)

Me again! It is almost too much of a good thing, isn’t it? But you can never have too much; you know that, Mr Speaker.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has agreed proposals to reform the practical car driving test in April. It has maintained a dialogue with the Public and Commercial Services union about the components of the new driving test throughout the development of the proposals between 2015 and the present day.

What plans does the Minister have to meet the workers and unions in the DVSA before 4 December, when more than 2,000 staff will be taking strike action over concerns about the new test? What assurance can he give me that the safety issues in question will be addressed before the test is rolled out?

Proust said that a

“powerful idea communicates some of its strength to him who challenges it”,

and I hope that the power of my idea will have some resonance with the hon. Gentleman. The truth is that these changes are supported by the driver training and road safety representatives who helped us to develop and trial them. More than 4,500 learner drivers and 860 driving instructors took part in research at 32 locations across Britain. At no stage has anyone said that the changes will not be beneficial, not least among those who took part in that process. We need to press on with the changes, because they will clearly be beneficial, and I hope that the power of that argument has been communicated to the hon. Gentleman.