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Section 12: Basic Control Skills Test
The entire basic controls skills test must be conducted in the English language. This is pursuant to CFR, Title 49 §391.11(b)(2) and 383.133(c)(5). If you communicate in a language other than English or fail to comprehend instructions given to you in English, during the skills test (vehicle inspection, basic control skills, and road test) you will receive a verbal warning for the first 2 offenses committed on the same test date. Upon a third offense committed on the same test date, the test will end as an automatic failure.
12.1 – Scoring
Your performance on the basic control skills test is scored by the examiner. You will be scored for the following:
- Crossing boundaries (encroachments).
- Pull ups.
- Outside vehicle observations (looks).
- Final position.
Encroachments – The examiner will score the number of times you touch or cross over an exercise boundary line or cone with any portion of your vehicle. Each encroachment will count as an error.
Pull Ups – When a driver stops and pulls forward to clear an encroachment or to get a better position, it is scored as a “pull up.” Stopping without changing direction does not count as a pull up. You will not be penalized for initial pull ups. However, an excessive number of pull ups will count as errors.
Outside Vehicle Observations (Looks) – You may be permitted to safely stop and exit the vehicle to check the external position of your vehicle (look). When doing so, you must place the vehicle in Neutral and set the parking brake(s). Then, when exiting the vehicle, you must do so safely by facing the vehicle and maintaining 3 points of contact with the vehicle at all times (when exiting a bus, maintain a firm grasp on the hand rail at all times). If you do not safely secure the vehicle or safely exit the vehicle, it may result in an automatic failure of the basic control skills test.
The maximum number of times that you may look to check the position of your vehicle is 2, except for the straight line backing exercise, which allows only 1 look. Each time you open the door, move from a seated position where in physical control of the vehicle or on a bus walk to the back of a bus to get a better view, it is scored as a “look.”
Final Position –It is important that you finish each exercise exactly as the examiner has instructed you. If you do not maneuver the vehicle into its final position as described by the examiner, you will be penalized and could fail the basic skills test.
12.2 – Exercises
The purpose of the basic control skills test is to evaluate your skill in controlling the vehicle and judging its position and relation to other objects while maneuvering through various exercises. The judgement and skill required for each exercise can apply to many different driving situations.
You will be tested on a subset of the following exercises:
- Straight line backing.
- Offset back/right.
- Offset back/left.
- Parallel park (Driver side).
- Parallel park (Conventional).
- Alley dock.
Refusing or failing to complete a basic control skills test exercise as instructed may result in an automatic failure.
These exercises are shown in Figures 12.1 through 12.6.
12.2.1 – Straight Line Backing
You may be asked to back your vehicle in a straight line between 2 rows of cones without touching or crossing over the exercise boundaries. See Figure 12.1.
12.2.2 – Offset Back/Right
You may be asked to back into a space that is to the right rear of your vehicle. You will drive straight forward the outer boundary. From that position, you must back the vehicle into the opposite lane until the front of your vehicle has passed the first set of cones without striking boundary lines or cones. See Figure 12.2.
12.2.3 – Offset Back/Left
You may be asked to back into a space that is to the left rear of your vehicle. You will drive straight toward the outer boundary. From that position, you must back the vehicle into the opposite lane until the front of your vehicle has passed the first set of cones without striking boundary lines or cones. See Figure 12.3.
12.2.4 – Parallel Park (Driverside)
You may be asked to park in a parallel parking space that is on your left. You will drive past the entrance to the parallel parking space with your vehicle parallel to the parking area;, and then back into the space without crossing front, side, or rear boundaries marked by cones. You are required to get your entire vehicle completely into the space. See Figure 12.4.
12.2.5 – Parallel Park (Conventional)
You may be asked to park in a parallel parking space that is on your right. You will drive past the entrance to the parallel parking space with your vehicle parallel to the parking area, and then back into the space without crossing front, side, or rear boundaries marked by cones. You are required to get your entire vehicle completely into the space. See Figure 12.5.
12.2.6 – Alley Dock
You may be asked to sight-side back your vehicle into an alley. You will drive past the alley and position your vehicle parallel to the outer boundary. From that position, back into the alley, bringing the rear of your vehicle within 3 feet of the rear of the alley, without touching boundary lines or cones. Your vehicle must be straight within the alley/lane when completed. See Figure 12.6.