Driving test waiting lists to be slashed

Waiting lists for the modern practical driving test are currently stretched to the point whereby learners may have to wait months for a slot.

With more and more motorists taking to the road in order to get their licence, and only a finite number of test centres and instructors to conduct the government assessment, the Driving Standards Agency has been working hard to find a solution to the problem of the ever-growing list of driving hopefuls.

Thankfully, it appears it might have the answer.

The DSA is set to trial a new approach exploring a different way of delivering the test. The rigorous process of examination will remain the same – but where, and consequently when, the driving exam can be taken is set for an update.

It will mean local authority buildings, hotels and even leisure centres will potentially get the chance of becoming a test centre, with the new approach currently being trialled in eight locations. Feedback from the initial tests is good, too, with the scheme being extended, rolling out across five new locations.

But what does it mean for a driver ready to take to the open road with all but a piece of paper stopping them from doing so?

The more flexible scheme will mean month-long waiting lists for a test will be cut, seeing driving test candidates benefit from the improvements in local services.

Reassuringly though, official DSA examiners will still conduct the driving tests, so an “on-test” driver will continue to receive the same standard of assessment and therefore licence entitlement if and when they pass.

Road Safety Minister, Mike Penning, said: "We have to be more flexible and innovative in delivering driving tests to make sure that we are offering people the best service possible wherever they live and I am delighted that these first trials have proved successful.

"We are now extending the trial so that more candidates will be able to benefit from a service that is convenient as well as being cost effective."

So, the dreaded driving test waiting lists that can halt a learner’s bid for freedom after a successful training period look to potentially be a thing of the past under the new initiative – great news for fresh-faced motorists looking to gain their freedom.