Driving test backlogs puts driving instructors under pressure

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Demand for practical driving tests in Birmingham is higher than ever, due to lock-down restrictions. 

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Some 420,000 learners are still waiting to take their driving test due to the backlog of cancellations caused by COVID, with test centres struggling with demand.

The delay has forced many instructors to say no to students as they struggle to catch-up with postponed tests and lessons.

“I believe that every driving instructor (across England) expected such a bad outcome after lockdown,” said Elijah Cox, a self-employed driving instructor. 

“It’s really frustrating for us and therefore the learners. 

“The number of times students have had to delay their driving test, making them less confident to drive.  

“They also become very rusty in their skills, so I do struggle to keep them within the loop again.”  

Many turned to social media to complain about the long wait for their driving test. 

DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) chief executive officer Loveday Ryder acknowledged the frustration but urged learners to take their time before booking a test.  

Mr Ryder said: “More than half of candidates failing, and demand currently extremely high for tests, learners should only take their test only 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 backlog of tests. 

“We are doing all we can to provide as many tests as possible and I know that it will be frustrating for some time. We are sorry for any inconvenience but please bear with us as we start getting our services back to normal.”  

Abbe Hussain, from A.B.S Driving School, said the backlog was adding to his workload. “I’ve never been this busy in my life. No time for rest, no time to relax.  

“We have a backlog of students and driving test centres has a crazy backlog of people who are trying to take the test. 

“It’s definitely going to be hard for us to come back from this because there’s no certainty when these delays are over.”  

The DVSA has stated the national average wait time for a driving test is 17 weeks. 

Many theory testing centres are offering extended business hours, at weekends and on Bank Holidays.   

Any learner with a test date from April 22 can reschedule for free at: https://www.gov.uk/change-theory-test 

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