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The UK government today introduced changes to the driving tests to include modern technology needs and "more real life scenarios". From December 4 this year, learner drivers in the UK will have to be able to follow directions from a sat nav (satellite navigation) device and drive into a parking space to pass their test. Drivers will also be expected to answer vehicle safety questions while on the move and complete 20 minutes of independent driving rather than 10. The UK's Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which is in charge of running driving tests and approving instructors in the country, said it wanted the test to have "more real life scenarios" such as driving into and reversing out of a parking space. "Using a sat nav goes some way to addressing concerns that inexperienced drivers are easily distracted, which is one of the main causes of crashes. We're moving with technology and the technology that new drivers will be using," a DVSA spokesperson said. The agency said a public consultation on the changes received almost 4,000 responses, with 71 per cent agreeing with asking candidates to follow directions from a sat nav. Some 88 per cent agreed with increasing the length of the independent driving part of the test. The DVSA had trialled the new tests with 4,500 learner drivers at 32 test centres across the UK earlier this year. "We have some of the safest roads in the world but we are always looking to make them safe.
These changes will help reduce the number of people killed or injured on our roads and equip new drivers with the skills they need to use our roads safely. Ensuring the driving test is relevant in the 21st Century - for example the introduction of sat navs - will go a long way towards doing this," said UK transport minister Andrew Jones. The DVSA said increasing the time candidates had to do independent driving would allow the examiner to better assess the driver's ability to drive safely on high risk roads. Currently, learner drivers in Britain spend a large amount of test time on low risk roads such as housing estates.