Will The Manual Driving Test Be Phased Out?

Wed 23rd Feb 2022

Recent research suggests that the majority of younger learner drivers are opting to apply for an automatic driving licence, rather than try for the trickier manual licence, and with EVs on the rise, the manual test might soon be a thing of the past.

But many driving instructors are keen to see learners continue learning the skills of driving with a gear and clutch pedal, rather than see the thinking taken completely away from the driver. Those who take a manual driving test are only qualified to drive a manual car, which isn’t a problem when most cars don’t have a gearbox, but does the manual driving test give the learner enough skills to actually drive an EV? Not according to some.

“When learning in an EV becomes the norm in the UK, the driving test may evolve further with examiners checking to ensure that the driver can use the techniques needed to maximise the range of the vehicle,” said Seb Goldin, chief executive of RED Driving School in the Daily Mail this week.

“For example, in the "show me, tell me" part of the practical driving test, candidates may be asked to give an understanding of how to use an EV chargepoint or prove an awareness of available chargepoints in areas they are traveling to.”

And Anthony Johnson, director at driveJohnson’s has said that dispute the driving experience changing significantly, still wants drivers to learn the old school methods, so that they can enjoy driving older cars if needed..

“For the next three to five years, I don't believe we will see any major changes to the driving test,” Johnson said.

“Although the demand for automatic driving lessons is steadily increasing, it's not moving fast enough to warrant any significant changes to the driving test at this time.

“I think anyone who is capable of learning in a manual car should take manual driving lessons. 

'Obviously, if someone is really struggling to grasp a manual gearbox, then they should consider automatic tuition.

“As they get older, they may want to purchase classic cars and, with an automatic-only licence, their choice will be extremely limited and may choose to obtain a manual licence later in life.”