How long is the wait for a practical driving test?

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The great driving test traffic jam! Learner motorists have to wait more than FOUR MONTHS for a practical exam as a large queue forms

Around 420,000 people have got a test booked for upcoming months There has been a huge backlog after tests were cancelled due to the pandemic Many have complained online about theirs being cancelled multiple times Are you struggling to book? [email protected] 

By Grace Gausden For This Is Money

Published: 11:06 EDT, 30 March 2021 | Updated: 11:06 EDT, 30 March 2021

The average waiting time for a driving test is a whopping 17 weeks as a backlog of learner motorists try to book their test after the pandemic stopped all exams, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has warned. 

Demand is so high there are already 420,000 practical car tests currently booked, This is Money can reveal.

It means booking one today will mean a typical wait until the end of July to bag a practical test. Before the pandemic, tests were usual available within two weeks.

Both car driving tests and lessons have been suspended for months due to lockdown. Those who do manage to bag a test will need to undertake it with a face mask. 

The average waiting time for a driving test is currently 17 weeks, thanks to a Covid-19 backlog

The four month wait for a test will be frustrating for many prospective motorists who have already been waiting months for lockdown to be lifted so they can resume their lessons and book a test. 

Prior to the pandemic, 95 per cent of candidates were offered a test and their chosen centre within two weeks of their preferred date, showing a huge surge in waiting times.  

Lessons are now due to resume on 12 April whilst tests can commence on 22 April when restrictions begin to be eased.

The DVSA said that if a candidate fails their driving test, they will need to choose a new date at least 10 working days away. It's not clear how long they will need to wait to take retake their test. 

However, not only have many been struggling to get an appointment but others have said their tests have been re-arranged and cancelled multiple times.

Others have had to contend with their provisional licence running out in the time their test was due to take place.

The DVSA has said if this is the case, it will not be extended and learners will have to resit.

This is not the first time demand has piqued as over 200,000 learners were stuck in an online queue last year as they tried to book their tests. 

Unfortunately, the system had been down for days before due to high levels of interest - angering learners further.  

Many have now taken to social media to complain about the wait for their driving tests.  

This Twitter user said her driving test was cancelled but not rescheduled 

Another user said her test has been rescheduled multiple times and is now in August

One learner driver said her new test date is in 5 months time, much further than anticipated

One user said it had been a whole year after their original driving test was due to take place

Those taking their driving test must now face new safety measures including wearing a face covering for the duration.

Another major alteration is that if learners make a serious or dangerous fault, which means they have failed, their driving examiner will direct them back to the driving test centre, where the test will end. 

In normal times, the test would continue as normal. However, the DVSA said the change is to minimise the amount of time needed to spend in the vehicle. 

Learners who arrive at a test centre for their exam without a face mask could also have their test cancelled, unless they have already declared they can't wear a covering for a physical or mental illness where it could cause distress. 

Candidates must also be sure to cancel any test if they have come into contact with anyone who has Covid-19, have symptoms of the virus or test positive.   


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