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Foreign language theory test scrapped

Mon, 07 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700

FROM TODAY the driving test in the UK must be taken in English or Welsh, after long-standing rules permitting foreign language speakers to sit the test were removed.

Theory tests have previously been available with voiceovers in 19 foreign languages and candidates could use an interpreter on both the theory and practical driving tests.

But changes that come into effect today were introduced after a consultation showed more than 70% supported the withdrawal of foreign language voiceovers and interpreters.

Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond, said: “It is essential that all road users have the right skills to use our roads safely and responsibly. By stopping driving tests in foreign languages we will cut out the risk of fraud, and help to ensure that all drivers can read road signs and fully understand the rules of the road.”

The consultation revealed that a majority of respondents agreed that not understanding English (or Welsh) could lead to drivers being unable to read traffic signs, speak with traffic enforcement officers or understand details of the rules of the road.

There have also been concerns over fraud, with 1,300 theory test passes having been revoked since 2008 after investigations into interpreters who had fed answers to test candidates.

Between February 2008 and December 2009, more than 20 per cent of all theory tests taken with an interpreter were found to be fraudulent, with one interpreter conducting 586 fraudulent tests. Last year, two interpreters were each jailed for 12 months for helping learners cheat on their tests.


By Press Association reporter