Learner drivers are waiting up to SIX MONTHS for their test after Covid lockdowns create backlog of more than half a million and waiting times are ‘not expected to improve until 2023’

  • MPs were told by the boss of DVSA that there were more than 500,000 drivers awaiting their test
  • The average wait time for a test takes 14 weeks, but some people are waiting up to 24.
  • Some learners are unable to complete their theory tests or lessons due to delays.
  • DVSA stated that the backlog in transport committees is unlikely to return to normal before 2023

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, thousands of learner drivers are still waiting up to 24 hours to take their test in parts of the UK.

Driving tests were banned for 12 months to stop the spread of Covid. They were only reinstated in April of this year.

This resulted in thousands of drivers not being able to pass their test, which created a backlog that means some learners are now waiting months for a slot.

The DVSA stated that there are currently more than 500,000 learners who are waiting to take a test. However, the average wait time for the test is 14 weeks. Some students may be given a slot that could take up to 24 weeks.

The agency stated that backlog is unlikely to return to normal levels before 2023. 

Hundreds of thousands of learner drivers are waiting up to 24 weeks to take their practical driving test in some parts of the UK due to a backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of thousands of learner drivers have been waiting for up to 24 weeks in order to pass their practical driving test in certain parts of the UK.

The delay means that learners have to spend thousands of pounds on extra driving lessons to ensure they are prepared for when their slot opens.

Others who had taken the theory test – which is required in order to take the practical – were made to pay for another one as the expired one was not valid. 

Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency reveal that the number of tests performed in Great Britain between April and July this year was 26 percent lower than the same period in 2019.

Critical workers, such those in social and health care, were still allowed to book tests through the various lockdowns. 

Peter Hearn, operations manager at the DVSA, stated to the Commons Transport Committee that the backlog in car testing is more than twice what we would normally expect.

“We expect a backlog around 250,000 tests, but we’re currently double that. 

DVSA said the backlog is currently double its usual size and will not return to normal until 2023

DVSA reported that the backlog has doubled in size and will not recover to normal until 2023.

“We have had significant periods where we have not been in a position to test drivers, so we are now trying to recover those services.” 

“We’re doing lots more things across the organisation with extra hours, and we’re bringing in people that can test.

Hearn informed the committee that the agency was in the process of recruiting additional staff, including support staff and examiners. Hearn also stated that they had already employed 90 and were looking to recruit up to 300.

Mr Hearn explained that the new staff will work five days out seven and can offer tests at weekends to clear the backlog.

He said that the DVSA was looking at the private sector and other types of driving assessments to determine if they could support the DVSA in clearing the backlog. 

Mr Hearn described the difficulties faced during the pandemic by saying: “You are clearly elbow to elbow, sitting inside a vehicle.

“That is a very difficult one. We were placed in lockdown three times, which obviously had an impact on our ability to do what we wanted.