DVSA Reveal The Top Driving Test Faults In First Year Of The New Test

Last Updated: 01/01/2020

Nearly two years ago, the DVSA changed the driving test which effectively extended the duration and tested learner drivers on even more things.

The new test included several items that had not previously been seen on UK practical tests.

Following directions from sat nav, answering or demonstrating two vehicle safety questions, three new reversing manoeuvres and longer independent driving section were all added to reflect the new skills drivers require for a lifetime of driving.

Unsurprisingly, the changes were met with some apprehension from new drivers as they were the first to go through the most detailed and demanding test to date.

A year down the line, trends began to emerge of which aspect of the test was most likely to trip drivers up.

The DVSA has released a list of the top ten reasons why drivers failed the test within the first 12 months of it launching.

Here are the top ten reasons (in order) for drivers failing the new driving test in the first twelve months since it was launched:

Junction Observation:

The most common reason for failing was drivers simply not paying enough attention at junctions.

Observation is a huge part of driving and getting this wrong will land a fail.

Using Mirrors When Changing Directions:

Failing to check mirrors when changing direction was another common reason for drivers to fail their test.

Steering Control:

Staying in control of your vehicle is key and steering is something that so many new (and experienced) drivers get wrong for a variety of reasons.

It’s no exception when it comes to driving tests with many tests failed due to the driver displaying a lack of control when it came to steering.

Junctions (Turning Right):

Turning right at a junction can be tricky, especially on busier roads or those with poor visibility.

It’s a common factor in the failing of tests.

Moving Off Safely:

Moving off the spot safely should be one of the first things new drivers learn, however, by the time they reach their test, many do not do it safely.

This could be through lack of observation or control, or any other reasons which makes the examiner feel you’re not in control.

Response To Traffic Lights:

Incorrect response to traffic lights is another fairly common issue for drivers.

Moving Off (Control):

Another to do with moving off, having control over the vehicle.

This could be due to stalling or erratic nature of acceleration.


Learner drivers also come unstuck on their test due to taking up an incorrect position on the road while driving.

Response To Signs & Road Markings:

Slow, incorrect or non-existent responses to road markings is also a reason that many drivers picked up fails on their test.

Controlled Reverse Parking:

And in 10th spot, a failure to make the instructor feel the driver is in control when reverse parking is also something that lands a fail.