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The Story of the Driving Test: 1970-1999

By 1970 all driving instructors now had to be officially registered and from May 1975 candidates no longer had to demonstrate arm signals in the driving test.

From 1st May 1990, examiners started to give feedback, they gave candidates a brief explanation of faults committed during the test, plus advice on areas for improvement. From October 1990, under the new legislation, anyone accompanying a learner driver had to be at least 21 and must have held a driving licence for a minimum of 3 years which is still true to this day.

In April of 1991 reverse parking became part of the driving test, this was as a result of more and more traffic on the road and people passing their driving test but not being able to park!

On 1st July 1996, the (separate) theory test was introduced. It replaced questions asked about The Highway Code during the driving test. A lot of people tried to beat the deadline meaning the driving instruction industry boomed and then, of course, slumped.

Photographic ID was required for both practical and theory tests from 1st March 1997. From 1st June 1997, if a new driver gained 6 or more penalty points during the first 2 years of driving, they lost their licence and must retake both the theory and practical driving test before being allowed back on the roads.

On 29th September 1997, waiting times between tests were reintroduced for unsuccessful candidates. For car drivers, there was a minimum wait of 10 days between tests.

In February 1999, the newly revised Highway Code was published, with current advice and up-to-date legislation for all road users.

On 5th May 1999, the Bay Park is introduced. Glen Robbins of driving-pro lays claim to being the first test pass on that day in the South of England, if not the whole of the UK.

As you can see, as the roads got busier the rules had to evolve more quickly. Imagine today not having to learn how to park your car or not having to take your theory test. Yes, it might be easier but do you think you’d be a safe driver?

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