An update from the DVSA: Increasing the number of car driving tests
The suspension of testing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to exceptionally high demand for driving tests.
Test availability – 375,000 test slots added!
The measures the DVSA initially put in place to protect our customers and staff from COVID-19 have limited the number of available tests. This includes reducing the booking window to 6 weeks and driving examiners carrying out 5 tests a day instead of the usual 7.
To increase the number of tests, the DVSA announced that from Monday 14 September, they will extend the period in which tests are available to book from 6 weeks to 18 weeks ahead. This will add up to 375,000 test appointments between 14 September 2020 and 21 January 2021. Moving to 6 tests a day, as well as increasing available tests to 18 weeks ahead they plan to move from 5 to 6 car tests a day.
Driving examiners are now familiar with using PPE such as face coverings and gloves and using the latest guidance for carrying out tests. This means there is more capacity to safely increase the test programmes to 5 to 6 tests per day. This will increase the number of tests instructors and your pupils can book by more than 7,000 extra tests every week.
Test start times
It’s important instructors do not arrive for the driving test more than 5 minutes before the appointment time. The increased number of daily tests in addition to the vital COVID-19 safety checks put in place to protect you and your pupils means there is a small risk some tests could overrun. This might affect the start time of the next test. If this is the case, please be patient until the examiner is available and ensure the vehicle is well ventilated in readiness for the test to start. Please take this into account when planning your diary.
Tests will continue to end early when a learner commits a serious or dangerous fault, which means they have failed. So not all tests will run to the full time. This means that any disruption to test times is likely to be minimal, and test centre managers will be on hand to help customers where needed. Driving tests will continue to be in high demand as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown and the suspension of testing, so you and your pupils will need to be patient. More tests will be released every week for you and your pupils to book.
It is vital that your pupils are test-ready when booking their tests, as tests could be at short notice. On average fewer than 50% of learners pass their driving test and there could be long waiting times for a retest – your pupils should book only when they are confident they can pass.
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