Using tablets during the driving test

By Lewis on 4th June 2018 - View Comments

DVSA have published their digital strategy for 2018 to 2022, which sets out their plans as they work to become a digitally enabled organisation. An examiner’s clipboard hitting the dashboard may have been the signal for an emergency stop in thousands of driving tests, but it could soon be replaced by a more hi-tech option.

DVSA also add that they are transforming services for driving tests and motorcycle tests, including allowing DVSA driving examiners to record test results directly onto a tablet, rather than on paper, by the end of the year.

A driving examiner is not there to supervise a learner driver during their test, as they are observing and assessing the learner’s skills (regulation 16 of the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999). During the test, the tablet screen won’t be visible to the learner driver, and the rest of the tablets functions will be turned off.

Driving test examiners are to begin experimenting with the use of tablets for practical tests from this year, according to the Driving Standards Agency (DSA).

Traditionally, examiners gather test information on paper forms, which are sent to the DSA’s Newcastle area office for scanning and processing before information on successful candidates is passed onto the DVLA. In future, if trials of the tablets prove successful, examiners will be able to collect data and input it directly into DSA systems from their devices.

“This will enable [examiners] to conduct all types of tests, collect results electronically at source and improve customer services by sending results information to central systems immediately after a test has been completed,” the agency’s 2012-13 business plan says.

Using the touchscreen devices would also allow examiners to access DSA systems quickly and keep up to date with relevant business developments, it adds.

The agency has a “vision” that all examiners will swap paper and pen for tablets, the plan says, and it is now “investigating the feasibility and affordability of this vision”.

Before the vision can become a reality, however, the DSA will run proof of concept tests, where the tablets will be used in simulations of driving tests. If the tests are successful, the tablets will then be trialled in live practical driving tests.

The DSA currently employs 1,800 examiners, and carried out over 1.6m practical tests last year. DVSA have said that they will be blogging more about how this will work soon – so keep your eyes peeled.


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