Thousands of UK driving instructors have hit out at upcoming changes to the driving test, signing a petition to ban one of the newly required manoeuvres. They say the proposed move is not only unsafe, but breaks the Highway Code.
Changes to the test are due to arrive on December 4, but 2,300 people have signed a petition to ban a new manoeuvre from appearing in it. The test requires candidates to pull up on the right-hand side of the road before reversing two car lengths.
Driving instructors say that the move is unsafe, putting inexperienced drivers at risk when moving across oncoming traffic to get back to their own lane. Worse than that, they say it contradicts a rule of the Highway code – rule 239: "Do not park facing the traffic flow."
The driving instructor who started the online petition, said: "Both myself and every driving instructor I've spoken to are totally against this idea as it's such a dangerous exercise.
"How are they going to move out safely? If they're starting to pull out blindly and the examiner sees something coming what does he or she do?"
However, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency defended the addition of the manoeuvre. It said: "DVSA is committed to helping people through a lifetime of safe driving and the new test will better assess a driver's ability to drive safely and independently. The new manoeuvre reflects how people actually drive and it is vital they have the knowledge and skills to do it safely, which is why it is included.
"The new test was trialled with more than 4,300 learner drivers and has the support of the driver training industry and road safety groups."
Parking facing traffic is one of a few additions to the driving test coming into force next month. Candidates will also be required to use a sat-nav, operate minor controls on the car such as the heated rear windscreen, while the independent driving section of the test has doubled from 10 to 20 minutes.