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New driving test locations trialled

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A new scheme under trial could see learner drivers in areas without a test centre take practical car tests at local venues close to where they live.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) will initially run the trials in seven sites across Britain to see if locations such as hotels, leisure centres and council buildings can be used to deliver the tests.

Easy access could also mean one less worry for candidates who can focus on their test and perhaps on finding cheap car insurance for their first vehicle.

The DSA's goal is to see if the local venues are a viable option in areas where there is high demand but where regular test centres no longer operate.

But learner drivers will only be offered practical tests at the alternative venues and there will be no change in theory test centres.

Once the trials are complete, at sites that include Ashford in Kent and Cumnock in Ayrshire, the agency will examine whether it can be extended to other places.

Road safety minister Mike Penning said: "I want us to be more flexible and innovative in delivering driving tests to make sure that we are offering people the best service possible wherever they live."

© Press Association 2011