Driving test waiting times – getting back on track

Dear Colleagues,

Please see the latest DVSA update below:

Driving test waiting times – getting back on track

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) needs learner and driver training industry support to help us build the nation back better.

Safely reducing the current waiting times for a driving test is a matter of national importance to enable people to drive and access employment, education, healthcare and social activities. You have a crucial role to play in this.

We want you to know we fully appreciate how difficult the past 17 months have been for your businesses, lessons and pupils getting tests. We know how frustrated and disappointed your pupils feel. We therefore want to share some of the results of the lesson demand research you helped with and explain what we’ve done to reduce test waiting times, what the next steps are and what this will mean to you and your pupils.

Driving lessons research findings

Thank you to those of you who completed the survey.

The research findings reveal that 8 out of 10 driving instructors who responded to the survey currently have a waiting list – and almost half of those have 11 or more people waiting to start driving lessons.

We will use these findings to help us understand more about the demand you’re facing for driving lessons and the future demand for driving tests.

Communication research findings

The research findings reveal that many of the driving instructors who responded to the survey said they’d find local test centre engagement events useful.

As a result of this, we are planning to trial a series of these in a number of locations over the autumn.

We will share more information about this trial as soon as we are able to.

Helping those driving instructors who need it most

We want to help those driving instructors who find it difficult to meet the standards. This will allow us to prioritise those instructors who need the most support.

High-quality instruction leads to high-quality learner drivers who’ll be better prepared to pass their test first-time. Reducing the number of candidates who need to retake their driving test will really help to tackle the waiting list.

We will be sharing more details about how this will work with you very shortly.

Increasing the number of test appointments

The latest phase of the new driving examiner testing framework trial has now concluded, and we are now planning to extend this to more locations ahead of agreeing a final roll out date.

When we roll this out across Great Britain, it will increase the number of available test appointments by an average of 15,000 to 20,000 each month.

We’ll share more information about the next phase of the trial as soon as we can.

Measures to help learners fully prepare for the test and further modernise the driving test

We are also developing a range of other regulatory measures aimed at making every test count.  They will encourage learners to be fully prepared and modernise further elements of the driving test.

Any measures will be subject to consultation.  We will give more details on these as soon as possible, but the measures being considered include:

  • increasing the number of days a candidate must wait before applying for a further test if they have failed
  • increasing the number of days notice a candidate must give to cancel or reschedule their test without losing their fee
  • changing the way the eyesight element of the test is conducted
  • introducing a digital test pass certificate

Exploring ways to help learner drivers and their families understand how long it takes to learn to drive

Over the summer we will also be surveying the friends and family of learner drivers to gather feedback to help develop messaging to manage their expectations and encourage them not to take their test before they are ready.

This will be supported by the research we carried out in 2019 with learner drivers and driving instructors to help understand what would encourage learner drivers to take more driving practice.

Yours sincerely


Peter Harvey MBE
National Chair


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