01.02.2020 will bring changes to the training provided by driving schools as well as the way official theory and driving tests are conducted. The new system will be more considerate of everyday traffic and will allow test takers to better manage their training process in the future.
Students who start their initial training for a category B motor vehicle driver at a driving school after 1 February will have to undergo at least four weeks of training, but this depends mostly on how well driving schools are able to plan the training process. Students need to attend at least 30 hours of practical driving and at least 28 hours of theoretical studies.
Main changes in the way theory tests are conducted for category B vehicles:
- 10 more questions in the theory test, i.e. a total of 40 questions that must be answered in 30 minutes.
- The theory test consists of two parts:
- 30 questions on traffic rules, road psychology and vehicles, the same as at present. Up to five mistakes can be made in the first part.
- 10 questions on road safety – descriptions of traffic situations with potential injuries or fatalities. Only one mistake can be made in this part.
- Starting from April, test takers can register for an official theory test immediately after completing their theory studies at driving school. This means that you no longer have to wait until you have finished with practical driving lessons. Remember that the results of a successful theory test taken at the Road Administration are valid for 12 months and the practical driving test must be taken during that period.
Main changes in the way practical driving tests are conducted for category B vehicles:
- There is no longer a manoeuvre-by-manoeuvre description of how specific tasks should be completed. Instead, the examinee must decide how to solve the situation presented to them. Before each task, the examiner explains the nature, objective and assessment criteria of the task.
- There is no longer a predetermined number of attempts allowed for completing tasks. The three tasks in the practical driving test must be completed in ten minutes. If the examinee makes a considerable mistake or fails to complete the tasks within the set time, the examiner will not let the examinee pass the test.
- There is no longer a specific list of mistakes which determines whether the examinee passes the test. The examiner will decide if the examinee passes the test or not based on whether the examinee follows the traffic rules and drives safely.
- If the examinee does not pass the practical driving test on their third attempt, they are sent to a driving school for additional training – a minimum of two driving lessons. Registration for another practical driving test is possible after completing said additional training.
Last year, the Estonian Road Administration conducted 34,068 theory tests and 36,207 practical tests. 76% of examinees passed the theory test and 56% passed the practical driving test on the first try. 26,370 driving tests were for category B vehicles and 41% of those tests were passed.
The new regulation of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, “Procedure for testing drivers of power-driven vehicles and granting the right to drive and the form of the drivers’ licence and the requirements for driving test vehicles” [“Mootorsõidukijuhi eksamineerimise, talle juhtimisõiguse andmise kord ja juhiloa vormid ning nõuded eksamisõidukitele”], regulating the training and examination process of driving schools is available here.