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13 March 2012

On this day in history: Driving tests introduced in the United Kingdom, 1935

In 1930, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed a Road Traffic Act, which removed all speed limits for road vehicles in spite of that year's record number of fatalities from traffic accidents. The continuing rise in road fatalities prompted the newly appointed Conservative Minister of Transport, Leslie Hore-Belisha,to introduce another Road Traffic Bill in 1934, which parliament passed that same year. The act not only reinstituted a speed limit of 30mph, but also made dangerous driving an offence and introduced a driving test.

The introduction of driving tests occurred on 13th March 1935, although the test was initially voluntary in order to prevent a rush of candidates. Three days later Mr R.E.L. Beene became the first person to pass the test, having paid 7 shillings and sixpence. From 1st July that same year, the test became compulsory for everyone who had started driving since the 1st April.

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