At the start of this year (2021) the sales of of vehicles with automatic gearboxes in the U.K. exceeded those with manual gearboxes. This is because –
The price premium of an auto box has largely disappeared
It is becoming increasingly difficult to order a premium vehicle with a stick change
Automatic gearboxes usually have more gear ratios allowing engines to be more fuel efficient or develop more power
Hybrid and electric vehicles are all automatic and their sales are increasing
When car combustion engines are no longer produced, all new cars will be automatic
Increases in traffic hold ups are tiresome with a clutch controlled car
Driving school cars are increasingly likely to be automatic
Drivers with automatic only licenses will need to buy automatic vehicles
The DVSA allow automatic trucks for driving lessons
Automatic cars do not need routine clutch replacements
Drivers quite frankly cannot be bothered with complications when driving.
The DVSA are aware of these changes and are probably thinking about allowing the driving test to be taken in either an auto or manual gearbox; people who want to add the manual entitlement will probably need to take a shorter test to prove that they can manage gear changes and operate the clutch proficiently.
As a consequence, anybody now considering buying a new car might reconsider ordering a manual car. When they come to sell, fewer drivers will be entitled to drive it, this will lead to faster depreciation of stick change cars.
I was an early adopter of diesel and it was decades before the motoring press rated some models better to drive as oil burners rather than as petrol versions. It is only recently that electric cars hit the market and already an electric car has been declared best in its class against both diesel and petrol class leaders. It is the Tessla S which is best in class. It happens to be battery powered.
The Width of the manoeuvring area has been reduced to 11 metres to make it easier for trainers to provide their own area which is suitable for the vocational test. It is hoped that these areas will be suitable venues for the DSA driving test. Likewise it is hoped that large companies such as Halfords will provide driving test facilities thereby allowing current test centres to close when their leases expire.
From November 2013 trailers will need to be laden with a 600kg approved load. Such a load could include ballast in clear plastic bags, each of the same mass. One of the said bags should be marked with its mass by the supplier.
I received notification this month that discussions are going on at the moment as to the viability of annual tests for trailers. I doubt that legislation will be needed for this – pressure from insurance companies may well ensure that testing will be a prerequisite should any trailer be used on the road. Failure to comply with an annual test could possibly lead to the invalidation of the towing vehicle’s insurance. Should the trailer suffer a defect which results in an accident then the driver of the towing vehicle could be personally liable for the damage. This is my opinion, you understand.