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Independent driving added to test

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A new section being added to the driving test will assess a learner driver's ability to drive independently.

From October 4, learner drivers will be required to drive for 10 minutes without instruction from the examiner.

It is hoped the move will produce more confident drivers and lead to a reduction in the number of car insurance claims put in by newly qualified motorists.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said: "The independent driving assessment gives test candidates the chance to show they have the necessary skills to cope with the sort of traffic conditions they will face every day.

"Learning those skills from the very start of the driving process will help make new drivers safer."

DSA's chief driving examiner Trevor Wedge said: "The aim of independent driving is to assess the candidate's ability to drive safely whilst making decisions independently. It's not a test of navigation and candidates won't be failed for going off route.

"The test is being improved to help produce safer drivers, but that doesn't mean it's getting any harder. We know many instructors are already teaching independent driving."

© Press Association 2010