Video clips are to replace written scenarios in the driving theory test for the benefit of learners with reading difficulties and disabilities, the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) has announced.
From 14 April, learners taking their theory test will be required to watch a video of a driving scenario lasting up to 30 seconds. They will then have to answer three multiple-choice questions about the clip.
The changes have come about as the result of research the DVSA undertook in conjunction with the National Austistic Society, the British Dyslexia Association and British Deaf Association.
The study found the learners were more comfortable and confident answering questions based on a video shown to them than from a written description, as they found the information easier to process.
Last year, the Department for Transport launched its Inclusive Transport Strategy, which is intended to make the UK’s transport system better for disabled people. With this in mind, the changes to the theory test are designed to help improve access to driving.
Previous changes to the theory test with a similar objective have included the addition of the option of taking the test with a pre-recorded voice-over and the introduction of specially trained members of staff acting as readers.
Mark Winn, chief driving examiner at the DVSA, commented: “DVSA’s priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving. Being able to drive can be life-changing and the DVSA is committed to helping everyone access the opportunities driving can offer.
“We have worked closely with road safety experts and learners to create a theory test which fully tests a candidate’s knowledge of the rules of the road and is more accessible.”
John Rogers of Disability Driving Instructors added: “A picture paints a thousand words, especially for candidates with special educational needs.
“Having to go back and forth between the text in the written scenario and the written questions and answers was a big obstacle to understanding what was required. Video scenarios should prove much easier to follow and the questions will hopefully appear more relevant.”
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