Why are we still waiting? AA Freedom of Information request reveals L-test waiting crisis is getting worse . What steps can the DVSA take next?

Why are we still waiting? AA Freedom of Information request reveals L-test waiting crisis is getting worse . What steps can the DVSA take next?

Average waiting times 14.8 as at 05/02/2024 15.7 as at 04/03/2024 16.8 as at 01/04/2024 17.8

Driving Test Delays: A Growing Concern in 2024

The issue of driving test delays is reaching critical levels in 2024, with alarming new data revealing significant increases in waiting times across the UK. According to the AA Driving School, measures to address this backlog are falling short, leading to longer waiting times for learners month after month.

The Numbers Paint a Grim Picture

Freedom of Information data obtained from the DVSA by the AA Driving School shows a troubling trend. At the beginning of February, the average waiting time for a driving test was 14.8 weeks. By the start of May, this had increased to 17.8 weeks, a 20% rise. Additionally, there has been a 33% increase in the number of test centres with waits exceeding five months, jumping from 94 in February to 125 in May.

More strikingly, 93% of test centres now have average waiting times exceeding the pre-pandemic average of six weeks. Half of these centres have seen an increase in waiting times this year alone, while only a fifth have managed to reduce them.

The Impact on Learners

The implications of these delays are significant. Camilla Benitz, Managing Director of the AA Driving School, emphasises that driving is not a luxury but a necessity for many people to access work, education, and other essential activities. The added test slots between October and March have failed to alleviate the issue, resulting in longer waits for learners.

Benitz calls for a renewed commitment from the DVSA to not only increase driving test slots but also to recruit and retain more examiners. This is crucial to prevent the additional slots from impacting other essential DVSA services, such as driving instructor training exams, which are also experiencing reduced availability.

Test Centres Facing Maximum Delays

The FOI data highlights that 71 test centres recorded the maximum waiting time of 24 weeks in both February and May. Several centres, including Barnet (London), Basingstoke, Dorchester, and others, saw their average waiting times increase to 24 weeks during this period.

The Need for Urgent Action – MSA GB Response

MSA GB has expressed grave concerns, noting that the backlog and the broken booking system are now out of control. They warn that unless the DVSA takes drastic action immediately, the situation will continue to deteriorate, forcing more pupils to resort to bots and take tests far from home, leading to higher failure rates and exacerbating the problem.

Loveday Ryder, the head of the DVSA, is urged to advocate for a dramatic response from the Roads Minister. Without immediate intervention, the cycle of delays, unprepared learners, and increased test failures will persist, making it harder for people to obtain their driving licenses.

Moving Forward

Reducing the driving test backlog is a key priority and It is crucial for the next government to prioritize this issue and implement effective measures to ensure that learners can access driving tests in a timely manner.

Addressing this crisis requires a coordinated effort from the DVSA, government officials, and driving schools to ensure that the system works efficiently for everyone.


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