Length of driving test centre waits revealed are still rising.

In special report, analysis of the official DVSA data shows that despite extra measures, demand is still outstripping supply.

Failing to deliver

In spite of the government rolling out new rules in summer 2023 to reduce the driving test backlog, waiting times have increased.

Compared to this time last year , queues have lengthened by an average of 5.1 weeks.

Whilst the average waiting time for Great Britain was 14.2 weeks in October 2022, the average waiting time is now 19.3 weeks. It’s a far cry from the pre-coronavirus average waiting time of six weeks.

Lock down hangover

The delays, like many other aspects of our lives, were a direct result of the COVID-19 lockdowns. As demand has built on top of the pandemic postponements to training and testing, it has led many to resort to buying a slot on the driving test black market. Unfortunately, whilst this may help shorten the wait, it is a risky business. Candidates can end up paying up to £400 for a slot – over six times the cost of a standard weekday practical test (£62). Relying on the black market also means people are open to fraud, losing money, and open to accusations of unfairly jumping the queue and lengthening waits for others using the legitimate booking system.

Driving tests have actually increased by 7% (April to June 2023 compared to the same period in 2022), it is failing to come close to matching demand and reducing waits.

It’s official

Revelations about the DVSA data on test waiting times came out as a result of a second Freedom of Information (FOI) request from Adrian Flux.

The motor insurance brokers have produced a special report on the matter.

Analysis of the findings around driving test centres delays showed:

  • Young drivers in London and the South East are enduring the longest wait (22.76 weeks) to get a driving test while those in the North East (13.1) have the shortest
  • Waits have increased more in the East (10.73) than anywhere else
  • The North East’s decrease of one week (from 14.1 to 13.1) is the only area that has actually seen a decrease in hold-ups in the past 12 months

Paying the price

The full report also details the test centres where the queues are shortest.

“We thought the numbers of people learning to drive in a parents’ car would decrease as the Government tackled the backlog and the situation improved,” said Gerry Bucke, general manager of Adrian Flux.

“But our numbers for 2023 are marginally higher than they were during 2022 and 2021 when we were reporting a huge 108% increase in policies or quotes being made or taken out by learners using their parents’ car.”

Bucke adds that it seems as though many candidates are ensuring they are keeping their skills up to date by adding themselves to parents insurance policies while they wait. Again, this is adding to the total costs of learning to drive and pass the test.

You can read the full analysis here.