The driving test is designed to be a tough and fair examination for learner drivers — but that doesn’t stop some people trying to cheat.
According to the latest figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), over the past 12 months 126 people were caught using technology (including Bluetooth earpieces) to cheat during the theory test.
Another way people tried to beat the system was by pretending to be someone else, as the DVSA found that 118 people impersonated the real candidates in both the theory and practical tests. The police were called to deal with all of these cheats, some of whom received prison sentences.
Although one of its main roles is to help learners, the DVSA is just as committed to finding and prosecuting anyone who tries to cheat the system, such as illegal driving instruction, cheating at the theory test or fraudulently passing vehicles at MOT.
The latest findings were recently published in the DVSA’s second annual review (2017-18) which recorded its progress in helping motorists to stay safe on Britain’s roads.
Thankfully the number of cheats is only a tiny proportion of the number of people who take a driving test. In total, the DVSA supervised 2.1 million theory tests and 1.9 million driving tests — the most in nearly 10 years. To cope with demand, the DVSA hired more than 180 new driving examiners.
There were more than 583,000 visits to the GOV.UK website to find driving schools, lessons and instructors. Currently, there are more than 39,000 approved driving instructors registered with the DVSA.
Far from being a negative, technology should be viewed as a positive in helping people learn how to drive. This was shown when the DVSA celebrated a Christmas number one as its official theory test app became Apple’s top paid-for app of 2017 with more than a million downloads. Last year, 24% of all people who took their theory test used the DVSA app to learn.
New technology has also been introduced to the practical driving test, which now includes a longer period of independent driving and time using a sat nav.
To further help learners, the DVSA has published ‘Show me’ and ‘Tell me’ videos on YouTube to explain to candidates what questions their driving examiner may ask them during a driving test.
The DVSA is also developing video clips to replace some of the theory test questions. The new clips will mean less text for candidates to read, making the test more accessible to those with dyslexia. The video clips show road situations from different perspectives (including both inside and outside the car), opening the potential for a broader range of questions.
There will always be someone who tries to cut corners, but the DVSA hopes that using more video based questions will help to protect the test from the possibility of cheating or fraud.
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