Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 9°C


National: End of the road for foreign language driving tests

14:51 09 April 2014

End to foreign language driving tests

End to foreign language driving tests


Change in rules is intended to cut out fraud


Driving tests will now only be allowed to be taken in English and Welsh in a bid to improve safety and clamp down on fraud, Roads Minister Stephen Hammond has announced.

Theory tests have previously been available with voiceovers in 19 foreign languages and candidates could use an interpreter on both the theory and practical driving tests.

But changes which come into effect today were introduced after a consultation showed more than 70% supported the withdrawal of foreign language voiceovers and interpreters.

Transport Minister Stephen Hammond said: “It is essential that all road users have the right skills to use our roads safely and responsibly. By stopping driving tests in foreign languages we will cut out the risk of fraud, and help to ensure that all drivers can read road signs and fully understand the rules of the road.”

The consultation revealed that a majority of respondents agreed that not understanding English (or Welsh) could lead to drivers being unable to read traffic signs, speak with traffic enforcement officers or understand details of the rules of the road.

The decision also reflects concerns about interpreters helping candidates cheat on their theory tests by feeding them the correct answers. Since 2008, more than 1,300 theory test passes have been revoked after investigations into fraudulent interpreters.

Between February 2008 and December 2009, more than 20% of all theory tests taken with an interpreter were found to be fraudulent, with one interpreter conducting 586 fraudulent tests.



The church is launching its fight back against gangs targeting places of worship for lead. St Mary's Church, Combs Road, Combs. Left to right is Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Kearton and Ipswich Bishop Martin Seeley.

The public have been asked to help the church and the police combat thieves targeting medieval churches across the country.

Aqua 8, Lion Street, Ipswich

An Ipswich chef-entrepreneur has achieved his dream of opening up his own restaurant in London’s Chinatown.

Stock image. Photo: PA

Suffolk police have strongly denied officers have used a Taser against a 91-year-old man after being accused of doing so by a BBC investigation.

Theatre Square artists impression

Construction work to tidy up the former Civic Centre site in the heart of Ipswich – and to create a new public square in front of the New Wolsey Theatre.

Residents have been campaigning for a by-pass for the four villages for decades.

Suffolk County Council is to contribute £450,000 towards building a case for the construction of a new by-pass around four villages on the A12 in the north of the county.

Matt Gaw strikes up a conversation with commuters in London

I’m standing in a queue at a large supermarket. A woman in front of me has long since packed her shopping into carrier bags, writes Matt Gaw.

More than 30 vehicles were stopped as part of the operation

More than 30 drivers of lorries, light goods vehicles and coaches were stopped by police last week in an initiative aimed to target and disrupt criminal activity.

The church of St Peter and St Paul in Lavenham

Supporters of one Suffolk church targeted by lead thieves have rallied round to raise the necessary funds to repair the damage caused to it – and help prevent it from happening again.

Robert Morton

MPs have warned the region’s new ambulance chief they will keep a laser like focus on the turnaround of the service when they came face-to-face in parliament.

Community transport, like Dial a Ride, faces financial cuts.

Funding for on-demand transport in Suffolk is to be cut in half – but there was a furious reaction after the Conservative cabinet at the county council ruled out any new debate on the subject.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages