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Driving Tests

Question for Department for Transport

UIN 7874, tabled on 26 May 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the number of practical driving tests appointments available each week; and what comparative assessment he has made of that data and the availability of tests before the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

8 June 2021

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has put in place a number of measures to increase practical driving tests. These include offering overtime and annual leave buy back to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays). The DVSA has also started a recruitment campaign to increase the number of examiners. The aim is to increase testing capacity and reduce the backlog as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining a COVID-secure service for customers and examiners.

As of 24 May 2021, there were nationally circa 140,000 practical car tests still available to book over the next 24 weeks.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) advises candidates to look for earlier dates by checking the ‘change your driving test’ service at: www.gov.uk/change-driving-test. The service is live and additional tests are added when they become available. Cancellations are also returned to the system by other candidates who often reschedule their test at short notice, freeing up test appointments for others to book. The DVSA also advises candidates to check availability at other nearby test centres.

As of 24 May 2021, there are, on average, 30,000 practical car driving test appointments available each week. This is compared to, on average, 33,000 available tests each week pre-March 2020.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is currently only able to deliver a maximum of 6 tests, per examiner, each day. Out of hours tests are limited to weekends only. When the service returns to 7 tests a day, the DVSA will be able to reintroduce evening tests. The aim is that an increase in test slots, together with an increase in examiners, will see the number of available weekly test slots exceed that of pre-March 2020.