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History of the driving test

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The driving test has been around for years with many changes taking place from the very first test to the present day. The driving test is a compulsory test that has to be taken by learner drivers who want to drive. It was first introduced in 1903 and still remains an important milestone for anybody that takes the test today.

Times have changed since the driving test first appeared with a substantial difference in the costing of the test, changes to how the test is marked and the laws that have been passed are also interesting to see.

We have compiled a list of the main events that have taken place throughout the history of the driving test which reveals some interesting facts and highlights how times have changed.

1903 - Driving Licences are introduced; originally costing 25p

1930 - Age restrictions and a form of driving test are brought in for disabled drivers1934 - Licences for lorry drivers are introduced under the Road Traffic Act

1935 - Mr. J. Beene is the first person to pass his driving test, at a cost of 37.5p

1935 - Compulsory testing brought in for all drivers who started driving on or after 1 April

1934: Around 246,000 candidates apply

1939 - Driving tests suspended for the duration of World War Two

1946 - Driving Tests resumed

1956 - The test fee doubles to £1

1959 - Examiner training is transferred to the newly acquired Stanmore Training School. Up until now, examiners have been trained ‘on the job’

1968 - The test fee rises to £1.15

1975 - Candidates no longer have to demonstrate arm signals

1995 - The 'Pass Plus' scheme is introduced to help newly qualified young drivers gain valuable driving experience

1996 - A separate written theory test is introduced

1997 - Photographic I.D. is now required for both practical and theory tests

1999 - Cars being used for a driving test must now have a front passenger seat belt, head restraint and a rear-view mirror

2000 - The touch-screen theory test is introduced

2001 - Candidates can now book their theory test via the internet

2002 - A hazard perception introduced to the theory test; this uses video clips to test candidates’ awareness of hazards on the road

2003 - Vehicle safety questions added to the beginning of the driving test

2010 – More questions added to theory test

As you can see from the timeline we have put together the driving test has changed significantly over the years and we expect this to continue in the years to come!