Could you help to ease the driving test backlog? Driving school calls for more instructors

Could you help to ease the driving test backlog? Driving school calls for more instructors
​Adults with full driving licences are being urged to train as approved driving instructors (ADIs) to help clear a backlog of around 420,000 tests.

The mammoth waiting list has grown over the past year as the number of people taking their test fell by 73%, largely due to pandemic-related cancellations.

ADI numbers are falling too, with a thousand fewer instructors in March 2021 (38,000) compared to March 2020.

According to a letter penned by Loveday Ryder, Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in March this year, the average waiting time for a test is 17 weeks. 1 

The recent call for instructors suggests that the situation has worsened.

Peter Brabin, Head of Training at Bill Plant Driving School said: “After the past 18 months the driving school industry has faced, we’re going to effectively be playing catch-up for a long time.”

Mr Brabin explained that the overall ratio of drivers to instructors “has changed dramatically” and the imbalance could be here to stay, well into 2022.

He added: “We’re calling on adults all over the UK who might be out of work or considering a career change to really think hard about becoming a driving instructor.”

Pass rates in theory tests have increased by 8.6% in a year, further proof that demand for practical tests may be growing. Meanwhile, 51% of learners are passing their practical test first time. Those lucky enough to book a test appear to be making the most of the opportunity.

It’s not only driving tests that have been affected, but lessons too.

Back in July, a survey from Young Driver found that 81% of instructors are reporting waiting lists for lessons.2 

One in four (26%) ADIs surveyed said their waiting lists stretch to more than three months, while 6% claimed that learners would have to wait more than six months for a slot.

With lessons so hard to come by, full licence holders might want to consider teaching a learner driver themselves.

Learner drivers now face the increased risk that they’ll have to retake a theory test if their certificates expire before the date of a practical test. The prospect has triggered as-yet unsuccessful petitions to government to extend theory test certificates.

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1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-letter-from-dvsa-chief-executive-to-driver-and-rider-trainers-about-restart-and-recovery-of-services/letter-from-dvsa-chief-executive-to-approved-driving-instructors-about-restart-and-recovery-of-services 
 2. https://www.driving.co.uk/news/new-survey-reveals-81-driving-instructors-waiting-list/

One month’s cover is classed as 28 days, so a 5 month policy runs for 140 days in total.

† One month’s cover is classed as 28 days, so a 5 month policy runs for 140 days in total.