The argument for modernisation of the content in the theory test surrounds several key questions which some driving instructors believe to be out of date and therefore increasingly irrelevant to young learners.
Take for example references to ‘putting in a cassette tape’ as one of the correct multiple choice answers in the Alertness category of questions. A lot of 16 year olds will have never seen a cassette tape, never mind know what they are!
The theory test also refers to a satnav as a navigation system. In the mind of a layman, aeroplanes and ships have navigation systems, cars have satnav!
Another example of these types of questions is one which refers to a car fitted with a hand held telephone. Try explaining to a 16 year old learner that we once had telephones fitted in to cars. They’ll be in disbelief!
This may sound like mere semantics to some but proponents of theory test changes argue that semantics make the difference between understanding and misunderstanding. If the theory test questions are not clear or relevant why should young learners be expected to pass and know the theory behind driving?
Some learners and instructors have also complained about the constant repetition of mobile phone related questions. All seemingly ask the same thing and all have the same answers. All questions refer to mobiles as they once were, mobile phones used to make and receive calls and nothing more.
Nowadays though, they’re a lot more. Instead of nine questions about using a mobile phone in the car for a phone call, why not replace several of these pertaining to actual real life situations that young drivers will face. For example, is it legal to text on your phone whilst waiting at a set of traffic lights? If you use your mobile during a journey and two minutes after use you crash your car, will you still be found guilty of dangerous driving?
These are questions that use the context of real life situations which are more likely to result in knowledge applicable to the real world.
As well as modernising some of the questions some are suggesting that the theory test for car drivers should consist of more questions concerning motorcycle riders. Every day 30 motorcyclists are killed or injured at junctions alone. Could this be reduced if learner drivers are better prepared via the theory test in dealing with motorcycle riders?
What do you think about the theory test questions? Have any of your pupils complained about the questions? Could this be something that the DVSA spend time researching and developing for a revised and more up-to-date set of theory test questions?