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New Rules for Foreign Languages in Driving Tests

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New restrictions are to be put into place over what language can be used when learners take their driving test.

The Government have said it would ditch rules that allow learners to sit a theory test in any of the 19 languages that are currently available, including Russian and Urdu. Translators who currently sit in on a practical test to explain the examiners instructions will be banned.

The rules have been proposed as around 800 people have had their licences revoked in the past two years, after The Driving Standards Agency uncovered evidence of rogue translators helping learners during their test.

As a result of the investigation which comes at a cost of £10,000 each time, 9 translators have already been struck off the approved list.

Concerns have also been raised about the implications of allowing thousands of non-speaking English drivers to hold a driving licence when they cannot read road signs.

Transport Minister Mike Penning highlighted what was wrong with the current rules saying: “This practice is wrong on many levels, and we are going to end it. It is very hard to fathom the logic of why it was ever allowed in the first place. Road safety should be our priority, not political correctness.

“It cannot be right to be handing British driving licences to people who are unable to read warning signs flashed up on motorway gantries. There is also evidence of fraud.

“But there is also a wider point about community cohesion – we should be encouraging people to learn English, instead of offering them ways to avoid it.”

The changes are expected to be introduced in the autumn and will only allow a learner to take their tests in English or Welsh. It was discovered very few EU countries allow driving tests to be taken in a foreign language.