Driving testsIf people find ‘back seat’ driving irritating, then ‘back seat’ interpreting is even worse. Costing taxpayers £250,000 each year, the use of interpreters or pre-recorded voice-overs in foreign languages during practical and theory tests has resulted in over 1,000 licences being revoked due to fraud and a number of convictions of interpreters.

The system allows people who speak foreign languages to learn how to drive by choosing from 19 foreign voice-over languages available for the test, or to use an interpreter where their language is not a pre-recorded option. This system, however, attracts fraudsters as learner drivers have been helped to cheat by being covertly coached in the foreign language.

The fraud scandal has led the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, to make the decision to scrap all driving tests conducted in foreign languages from early next year with the goal of stopping fraud, boosting safety, cutting costs and enhancing ‘social cohesion and integration’ as the tests will only be available in English or Welsh. He also stated that this requirement will ensure that, on passing their test, all new drivers will be able to understand any emergency information or traffic updates.

The Right Decision?

What are your views of the current language system used by foreign learner drivers in the UK and do you agree or disagree with the decision made for next year’s driving tests?