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2 July 1998

Driving theory test candidates are just as happy to take the exam 
oncomputer as use a pencil and paper, Driving Standards Agency 
(DSA)research has revealed.Trials, commissioned to discover whether 
learners would prefer theexisting paper and pencil or computerised 
versions, showed they didjust as well either way.The DSA plans to bring 
in computerised testing in January 2000.Tenders have already been 
invited to develop and run the service.The contractor will also 
organise booking tests, customer telephonesupport and running the test 
centres.The trials were run in Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Runcorn, 
Swansea,Wood Green, and Belfast. More than 1500 candidates - whose 
profilematched the national pattern - volunteered to take a 
computerisedversion of the test on top of their normal one. Passing 
either qualified them to go on to the practical test.Bernard Herdan, 
DSA Chief Executive, said: "People are becomingincreasingly used to 
interacting with computers and dealing with technology, for example 
through 'hole in the wall' cash machines and public information 
touchscreen kiosks. I believe it's the wayforward, but I also want to 
ensure we get it right before we make any changes."We must be 
absolutely sure that no-one is disadvantaged and the theory test 
continues to deliver its primary road safety benefits."

Notes to editors: 

1. The Driving Standards Agency has been an executive agency of 
theDepartment of Environment, Transport and the Regions (previously 
ofDoT) since April 1990. Its primary aim is to promote road safety 
inGreat Britain through advancing driving standards, testing driversand 
riders fairly and efficiently, maintaining the Registers ofApproved 
Driving Instructors and of Large Goods Vehicle instructors,and 
supervising basic training for learner motorcyclists. DSA HQ isin 

2. Nationally in 1997-8 approximately 1.3 million tests for cardrivers, 
over 60,000 tests for lorry and bus drivers and over 88,000motorcycle 
rider tests were carried out. About 36,600 examiners carried out the 
car and motorcycle tests from 335 permanent testcentres across Britain. 
In the same period, 1.4 million theory testswere conducted at 157 

3. In 1997-98, 2500 new driving instructors were added to theRegister 
of Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) and 16,000 ADIs werecheck-tested 
to ensure they met the DSA's instructional standards.There are 450 
Approved Training Bodies.

4. In December 1997, the DSA successfully regained the Charter 
Mark,awarded for excellence in public service, having previously been 
oneof the first recipients of this award, for 1992-95.5. The DSA has an 
annual turnover of about #79m and has to cover itscosts from test 
fees.The DSA is required to meet targets for waitingtimes and unit 
costs. It publishes an annual business plan, reportand accounts.# = 
pounds sterling

Newsbit courtesy of:

Tim Daw

A: NetShift Software Ltd & Daw Systems Ltd.
A: Hughenden Yard, Marlborough, Wilts,SN8 1LT, UK
T: +44 (0)1672 511 094 
F: +44 (0)1672 511 078
E: [email protected]

Thanks Kinetic!

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