In an attempt to crackdown on cheating, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced that practical and theory driving tests will no longer be available in a foreign language. Currently, the test can be taken in twenty one different languages, including English and Welsh. The new plans which are to be released next month, are expected to announce that all 19 languages other than English and Welsh are to be banned.
This move has come about following the revelation that some interpreters are actually giving the test candidate the answers. Currently an interpreter is allowed to sit in the back seat of a practical driving test to help explain the examiners instructions. Theory tests also allow use of an approved interpreter who can read the question out in the candidates chosen language.
Since 2009 more than 850 test passes have been revoked and nine interpreters have been banned.
Currently around 675 candidates a week take the test with an interpreter in the back seat. In addition, 2,100 use an interpreter or rely on a voice over in a foreign language when taking the theory test.
Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said “This isn’t about saving money, it’s about cutting out fraud and making roads safer. There are real safety risks that if people cannot understand the language, they cannot understand signs and other rules of the road.’