Young people are being forced to wait until NEXT YEAR to book driving tests due to huge backlog at DVSA caused by Covid lockdowns
- Learner drivers face waiting until early 2023 for a driving test as backlogs persist
- Major cities like London and Manchester dealing with delays of around 24 weeks
- Industry campaigners warned persisting issues could affect people’s futures
Published: | Updated:
Learner drivers are left frustrated by Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) backlogs preventing them from booking a test within a reasonable time frame, as many face waiting until 2023 for a slot.
Industry campaigners have warned that preventing young people from the ‘rite of passage’ was stopping many from planning for the future.
Analysis of the DVSA’s test booking site by The Telegraph found that the UK capital didn’t have any available test slots for at least 24 weeks as of Saturday night.
Major cities like Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and Bristol were last night plagued by similar issues.
The DVSA’s business plan, released last week, promised to tackle delays.
It said training capacity has already been doubled and the body is ‘on track to recruit over 300 additional driving examiners’.
Learner drivers are being left frustrated by Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) backlogs preventing them from booking a test within a reasonable time frame, as many face waiting until 2023 for a slot (stock photo used)
The plan also aims to bring average waiting times down to nine weeks by the end of the year.
However as the issues persist, driving test backlogs could hit young people with further issues.
As current rules mean learners can only book one test at a time, a failure could result being slammed with another months-long wait.
AA president Edmund King yesterday told The Telegraph: ‘The backlog does not appear to be improving. It’s incredibly difficult for young people to plan their future.
‘Learning to drive is incredibly important to the start of adult life. Unfortunately for young people that freedom, that rite of passage is being taken away from them.’
The Driving Instructors Association (DIA) has also cautioned that certain websites with algorithms also work harder to swipe up available slots than a person can, making it even harder to book anything.
Analysis of the DVSA’s test booking site by The Telegraph found that the UK capital didn’t have any available test slots for at least 24 weeks (stock photo used)
The association’s general manager Karen Bransgrove told the outlet: ‘There’s a lot of frustration about it. Driving instructors feel that these sites make the situation worse.’
Last year the agency said backlog is not expected to return to normal levels until 2023 but that they are implementing several measures to tackle the waiting list including a recruitment drive and looking to the private sector to help with testing.
Figures for October 22, obtained by the AA Driving School from the DVSA, showed that 538,832 tests were booked for the following 24 weeks.
DVSA’s Chief Executive, Loveday Ryder said: ‘We are doing all we can to provide as many tests as possible so we can get our services back to normal.
‘I know learners will be keen to take their test now, but it is important that they are properly prepared for their test and don’t take it before they are ready.
‘With more than half of candidates failing, and demand currently extremely high for tests, learners should only take their test when they are confident they can pass.
‘This will help them to avoid a lengthy wait for a retest and help us by not adding to the driving test waiting list.’
The DVSA said the average waiting time for a driving test is 14 weeks, depending on test centre availability and demand.
It was in November reported that there were more than 500,000 learners waiting to take a test with an average waiting time of 14 weeks, the DVSA said, but some were even then being handed a slot that is up to 24 weeks away.
Driving tests were prohibited for 12 months as part of the Government’s response to prevent the spread of Covid and only resumed in April 2021.
As a result, thousands of drivers were left unable to take their test, creating a backlog which now means some learners are waiting months for a slot.