Use of foreign language support for driving tests to end

Road Safety Minister Robert Goodwill has announced that from April next year driving test candidates will no longer be allowed to use foreign language voiceovers and interpreters on test.

The announcement follows a public consultation.

Currently people whose first language is not English or Welsh can request pre-recorded voiceovers for the computer-based car and motorcycle theory tests in 19 different foreign languages.

Candidates can also use approved interpreters on theory tests and practical tests.

Mr. McLoughlin 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.”

Mr. McLoughlin said the move 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.”

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

More than 70% of respondents supported the withdrawal of foreign language voiceovers and interpreters on tests. The consultation received close to 2000 responses.

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

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