Stuck in neutral - learner drivers face delays of up to five months for driving tests

Stuck in neutral - learner drivers face delays of up to five months for driving tests
Learner drivers waiting to take a practical driving test could face waits of up to five months even after lockdown, the Mirror reports.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is yet to get through a backlog of around 420,000 cancellations made as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

The figure came to light after the Government announced driving lessons would go ahead in England and Wales from 12 April at the earliest, with driving tests due to start again on 22 April.

A spokesperson for the DVSA told the Daily Mirror: “Candidates affected by the suspension are automatically being booked on to the next available test at their chosen centre.

“As soon as it is safe DVSA will increase the number of driving and theory tests available.”

The DVSA has had to hire 300 extra examiners to join the existing 1,675 to help with clearing the pile-up of cancellations.

Around 380,000 learners are also waiting to sit theory tests before they can try to secure a practical examination.

Carly Brookfield, chief executive of the Driving Instructors Association (DIA), said: “What these numbers don’t tell you is how many driving tests have been cancelled time and time again. There’s a huge worry among pupils that if they fail a test, how long will it be before they get a retest?”

Ms Brookfield said the DVSA could shorten the wait for theory tests by making it possible for people to take them online, though was concerned 'the DVSA will argue that people will try to cheat'.

“But so many testing bodies are going online using technology that monitors individuals,” she added.

Limited emergency driving tests are available in England and Wales for critical workers who work for the NHS in health or social care, the emergency services or a local council.

Driving tests in Scotland will only restart in areas as they move back into protection level 3 or lower.

The price of a theory test is £23 for cars, while driving tests cost £62 on weekdays or £75 on evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays.

To find out more about how driving tests have been affected by coronavirus and to book a test online, visit the government website.

Stuck in learner-limbo? Here's our definitive guide to passing your driving test from start to finish. Or, if you're filling in as a driving instructor for your family, check out our guide to teaching a learner driver.

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