No more foreign language driving tests

Currently, people are able to take their car and motorcycle theory tests with a voiceover in one of 19 foreign languages, and use interpreters on both theory and practical tests.

However, following a public consolation, the UK’s Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill made an announcement in October that, as of April 7th 2014, test candidates will need to have a good understanding of the English or Welsh language as there will no longer be voiceovers or interpreters allowed in other languages during driving tests.

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.”

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) consulted earlier this year on a series of proposals reviewing the level of foreign language support available to candidates. This was because of concerns about potential road safety and the risk of fraud, as well as the ongoing cost of providing translations.

Almost 2,000 people had their say on the proposals with more than 70% of the people who responded supported the withdrawal of foreign language voiceovers and interpreters on tests. Many people agreed that a lack of understanding of the national language meant that some drivers may not be able to understand traffic signs, or speak with traffic enforcement officers as well as finding it difficult to read details of the rules of the road.

In addition, there was also support for encouraging candidates to learn the national language to improve social cohesion.

You can read the full report on the consultation.

Candidates with special needs

Candidates with dyslexia or other reading difficulties will still be able to take their theory test with an English or Welsh language voiceover, whilst candidates who are deaf or have hearing difficulties will still be able to take their theory test in British sign language (BSL), or take a BSL interpreter with them on their practical test