The Government plans to resume UK driving tests on 4 July in an effort to clear a huge backlog of thousands of people waiting to get their driving licence. According to reports, driving schools will be included in the Government’s third phase of easing lockdown restrictions.
No official decision has been made, but it’s understood that plans to reopen UK driving test centres will go ahead, provided that the UK’s recovery from coronavirus continues and the infection rate does not spike as lockdown restrictions are lifted.
UK driving tests have been suspended to all except key workers since 20 March, with test centres facing a backlog of learners in the thousands, each waiting for the opportunity to pass their driving test.
Figures set to be published in September are expected to show the longest waiting list for UK driving tests ever.
DVSA has no proper plan
Despite news that UK driving tests could return in early July, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has no proper plan, according to driving instructors. Many driving tutors across the UK have said that they feel ‘abandoned’ and ‘confused’ because they still have no idea when they will be able to return to work.
According to the Approved Driving Instructors National Joint Council (ADINJC), they are unable to plan driving lessons for learners because the DVSA hasn’t outlined a ‘proper plan’.
Chair of the ADINJC, Lynne Barrie, said: “As an industry we are feeling really abandoned at the moment and very confused by the messages the Government is sending out. We hold a meeting each week with the DVSA who control the register of driving instructors and who we as a national association are stakeholders with.”
“However, the news coming out is very spasmodic and really isn’t helping us to plan ahead,” Barrie added.
The ADINJC also claims that many instructors are being forced to feel like they should return to work. Barrie said: “Many are obviously feeling nervous about going back. We have instructors with pupils who have practical tests on June 17 and have no idea if these will take place.”
However, based on the Government’s recent announcement, it’s unlikely that practical driving tests scheduled for June will go ahead.
Return of UK theory tests unknown
While the Government has tentatively announced the potential return of UK driving tests in July, there is still no news on when theory tests might resume.
Barrie said: “The theory testing is also very uncertain.” The ADINJC did receive an email from the DVSA on 1 June saying that theory tests would be cancelled for an additional two days.
Barrie said: “However from June 4 we do not know if tests will be cancelled again or going ahead. We can’t run a system on two days’ notice.”
“Candidates have paid for these tests and are revising ready for them but with no certainty that they will take place, we may be in an unusual situation, but this is totally unacceptable to the candidates and to their driver trainers.”