Driving in North West and Mid Kent
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What’s the point of the driving test?
Major road safety milestone as driving test clocks up 75 years of success
The British driving test marks three-quarters of a century of helping keep people safe on the road when it turns 75 on Tuesday 1 June.
The first car and driving licences were introduced in Britain in 1903. But it was not until 1 June 1935 - amid rising numbers of deaths as the popularity of the car increased - that a compulsory driving test was introduced.
The first driver to pass was Mr J Beene and within a year, the number of deaths on the road had fallen by 1,000.
In 1934, 7,343 people were killed on the roads and there were 1.5 million cars. The latest figures show there were 2,538 deaths on the roads in 2008 when there were around 34 million cars.
Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said: “The driving test is not just a rite of passage, it has helped save thousands of lives on our roads.
“The test and the learning needed to pass it are a vital part of giving drivers the skills they need to drive efficiently and safely.
"High standards of driver training and assessment are an essential contribution to helping Britain's roads remain among the safest in the world."
Trevor Wedge, Chief Driving Examiner at the Driving Standards Agency, said: “The driving test still retains some of the original elements included in 1935, such as turning in the road and reversing, but it is updated regularly. We continue to make sure that the test properly prepares drivers for the demands of modern roads.
"This year will see the introduction of independent driving into the test, to help candidates demonstrate their ability to drive without step-by-step instruction.We believe that this added element will lead to better and safer drivers."
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