Driving test ‘backlog’ as over half a million drivers have exams cancelled during lockdown

DVLA explain the practical driving test

Just over 194,000 tests were conducted over the first two quarters of 2020/21 compared to almost 850,000 recorded at the same stage last year. Only 6,264 tests were carried out over Q1 of 2020/21 at the height of the lowdown with a further 188,000 in Q2.

However, data from the Department for Transport show tests have fluctuated between 350,000 and 465,000 tests in each quarter since 2007.

Sarah Rees, Managing Director of AA Driving School said “The last nine months have been a torrid time for learner drivers, riders and indeed instructors.

“Coming in and out of lockdown with lessons and tests suspended in different parts of the UK at different times has led to confusion and means fewer people have passed their driving test or motorcycle test compared to the same period last year.

“We have also found that learners whose lessons were stopped during the first lockdown have needed a significant number of refresher lessons to get them back up to speed.

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“Overall there was less than half the number of driving tests conducted between July and September this year compared to the same period last year.”

Despite the lower tests, pass rates were higher than previous years highlighting learner drivers mad ethe moist if each opportunity.

A massive 55 percent of drivers who took their test in the first financial quarter passed their test with over 50 percent in Q2.

In comparison, 45 percent and 47 percent of drivers have passed their tests over the last 13 years.

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Simon Williams, RAC spokesman said: “The scale of the pandemic’s impact on novice drivers is clear to see.

“Even with looser restrictions over the summer, the number of practical driving tests was only half what it was in the same period last year.

“Given how important the ability to drive is in enabling people to work, there will undoubtedly be enormous frustration among learners about having to delay the start of their driving careers.”

Under the current measures, driving tests and lessons are still going ahead but with several restrictions in place.

Learners still need to wear masks when in the car and will still have their test automatically stopped the second a student fails.

Just five tests are being carried out each day in tier 3 areas meaning thousands will still have their tests postponed or cancelled.

Ian Macintosh, CEO of RED Driving School has warned of a “backlog of tests” which have left thousands of drivers left out.

He says there has been “huge demand in lessons” with the DVSA “unable to cope” with the heavy numbers.

He said: “Unfortunately, the pandemic has created a backlog of tests – nobody is to blame for this but we’d like to see the DVSA implementing whichever means possible to ensure the backlog is tackled efficiently.

“There has already been a huge demand for lessons following the first lockdown, and the DVSA has been unable to cope with the testing backlog.

“The number of tests available to the public were reduced – some test centres remained shut and those that did open operated at a lower capacity.

“The demand from learners has never been greater. Many of our learners need their licence for work purposes because their job requires driving or because public transport doesn’t suit their work schedule or location.”

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