DSA calls an end to foreign language options for driving test candidates

12.00 | 15 October 2013 |

Driving test candidates will no longer be able to use a foreign language voiceover or interpreter when taking the driving test from April 2014.

The move was announced last week by Robert Goodwill, the newly appointed road safety minister, following a public consultation.

Currently people can take the car and motorcycle theory test with the aid of a voiceover in one of 19 foreign languages, and use an interpreter for the theory and practical tests.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) consulted earlier this year on a series of proposals reviewing the level of foreign language support available to candidates.

The consultation was in response to concerns about potential road safety implications, the risk of fraud and the cost of providing translations. Almost 2,000 people participated in the consultation and more than 70% of respondents supported the withdrawal of foreign language voiceovers and interpreters.

Many people agreed that a lack of understanding of the national language meant that some drivers may not be able to understand traffic signs, speak with traffic enforcement officers or read details of the rules of the road.

Patrick McLoughlin, secretary of state for transport, said: “We want to make sure that all drivers have the right skills to use our roads safely and responsibly. One area where we can help ensure this is by requiring all test candidates to take the test in English or Welsh, the national languages.

“This will help to ensure that all new drivers will be able to understand traffic updates or emergency information when they pass their test. It will also help us to reduce the risk of fraud by stopping interpreters from indicating the correct answers to theory test questions.”

Click here to read the full DSA news announcement.


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