From the DVSA:

Encouraging learner drivers to be better prepared for their test

In preparation for our campaign aimed at helping learner drivers and their parents to understand how long it takes to learn to drive, we are working with external researchers. This is to gather the feedback from learner drivers and their family and friends to help us to develop our messages for the campaign that encourage learners to book and take a driving test only once they’re ready.

In this blog post I’ll share some more details on the research we are carrying out and explain how we plan to use the insight we receive to provide more help and support to learner drivers and their friends and family throughout and beyond the initial learning to drive process.

It’s a challenging time

The COVID-19 pandemic and national restrictions had an enormous impact on the number of driving tests that we could carry out. Between April 2020 and March 2021 the number of driving tests carried out decreased by 72.7% compared to the previous year.

This has caused the national average waiting times for driving tests to increase from 6 to 14 weeks which is frustrating to you, your pupils and colleagues. Our priority is to reduce the waiting times as quickly and safely as possible. One of measures we are taking to help us achieve this is to ensure that learners are better prepared for their test and the critical point at which they drive on their own for the first time.

Currently less than 50% of pupils pass their test the first time, and of those who fail, 85% have resulted in their test having to be terminated by the instructor.

We hope that by helping them to better understand when they are ready to take their test will enable more learners to pass first time.

What role do family members play in helping learners prepare for their test?

Before the pandemic we carried research with you, your pupils and our examiners. I’m very grateful for all this vital feedback.

The findings in this research made it clear that parents and other family members can be influential on a learner’s decision making when learning to drive and feeling ready for their test. Many of you have also indicated this.  We want to gain a better understanding about the influence that friends and family have on learners.

We are working with BMG Research to carry out an in-depth online survey and follow up interviews with people who have helped a learner driver in their family.

I’m looking forward to finding what more we learn from this research and the new opportunities it will identify for the campaign. For example, ways that we can help to educate learners about how long it takes to be ready for driving test and to become a lifelong safe driver, and ways in which we can encourage them work in partnership with you to help maximise their learning to drive experience.

Learning more about the learning to drive experience

We also want to understand in more detail from a learner’s perspective what it’s like to go through the learning to drive process and how, and at what stages, we could improve the information or support they receive.

We are working with an external research company, Kantar on this and they will be carrying out in-depth interviews with learners.

These 2 new research projects will begin very soon, and the data and knowledge we learn, combined with the previous research, will be used to help us develop our messages and content for the campaign and help learner drivers prepare for a lifetime of safe driving.

We’ll share the findings of this research with you as soon as we can.

How you can help

It is possible some of your pupils or their family or friends could be contacted by the either of the research companies we are working with. If any of your pupils or past pupils get touch with you to let you know that they have been approached and asked to take part in the research, I’d be grateful if you could please encourage them to take part, as their feedback is vital.