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HomeUKMore than half a million students are still awaiting a test date.

More than half a million students are still awaiting a test date.

Lucy began learning to drive last summer and is now prepared to take her test; but, she, along with hundreds of thousands of others, is unable to obtain a permit.

I have looked as far ahead as January, but nothing is available.

The 19-year-old Londoner says, “I completed my theoretical test last year and am eager to complete the practical test, but securing a time slot is difficult.”

More than half a million students are still awaiting a test date.
More than half a million students are still awaiting a test date.

She is also not alone.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) reports that more than 500,000 students are awaiting a driving test appointment.

In May 2021, the backlog stood at 496,124, but by May of the current year, it had increased to 530,387.

It implies that the average wait time for a test slot is 14 weeks, although there have been stories of learners waiting as long as six months in certain regions.

Learn driving
More than half a million students are still awaiting a test date.

It may be a year before I pass away.
Eloise resides in St. Albans and, like Lucy, she is unable to schedule a test. Last year, she began studying but was forced to quit because of confinement.

Even though she does not yet have a test date, she expressed concern to Radio 1 Newsbeat about the strain of passing.

“If you fail your test the first time, you are forced to wait again, so it could be a year before I pass.”

In the meanwhile, the 18-year-old must rely on increasingly expensive public transportation.

“I reside in Hertfordshire, where buses and trains exist but operate seldom. Driving would save time and reduce the amount of money I spend on trains “she argues.

What is the cause of the delay?

According to The AA, which obtained the DVSA statistics through a Freedom of Information Act request, Eloise’s situation is not uncommon.

Lorna Lee, from The AA Driving School, explains, “When lockdown began, driving tests were delayed and there were periods when you couldn’t take driving lessons, which has caused a backlog.”

The circumstance is described by Lorna as a perfect storm.

Many people who were already learning to drive were delayed by Covid, and when you add those who turned 17 during the epidemic, you can see the problem,” she adds.

According to Lorna, the delay prevents people from going on with their lives.

She is also concerned that test delays are leading to increasing costs, as the longer one waits, the more money is spent on classes.

“People must be able to take the next step, whether they need to be able to drive for a job or education,” she says.

‘Start saving’

In addition to test delays, trainee driving instructor exams have also been delayed. According to the same DVSA data, 438 trainees had no test date, and in certain regions, the waiting period was 24 weeks.

It indicates that people like Jenna Williams, a driving instructor located near Cardiff, have been extremely busy. She has a three-month waiting list for new students and is completely booked.

The backlog is attributed to the epidemic and expiring theory tests.

“During the lockdown, many theory assessments expired because they only have a two-year validity period, requiring students to retake them,” she explains.

Jenna observes the pressure that students are under and asserts that this is the primary cause of their failure.

She replies, “I believe that due to a backlog of waiting lists for another test, students are under a great deal of strain, given that, as you mentioned, if they fail, they will have to wait another five to six months.”

Jenna says there’s not much you can do if you’re one of the individuals waiting for a test, but she advocates saving.

“Get on a driving instructor’s waiting list and save some money in the interim,” she advises.

The growing cost of living may cause you to spend a bit more than usual, so having these funds on hand could be helpful.

The DVSA claims it is addressing the increasing demand by “recruiting an additional 300 examiners, conducting out-of-hours testing such as on weekends and public holidays, and asking qualified employees who no longer serve as driving examiners to conduct tests.”

“Following the suspension and further disruption of driver testing throughout the majority of the Covid pandemic, we are doing everything possible to provide learners with as many practical driving tests as possible and reduce average waiting times to less than 10 weeks by the end of the year,” a spokeswoman explains.

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