Green light for driving lessons and tests in Scotland to restart - here's when learners can get back behind the wheel
Qualified instructors were told to stop giving lessons in mid-March as the UK was placed in lockdown, with practical and theory driving tests also suspended.
As lockdown has eased tutors in the rest of the UK have been allowed to restart lessons but restrictions in Scotland have meant learners here have been unable to resume lessons with instructors.
Following the most recent Scottish Government announcement, driving lessons in Scotland can restart from Monday, August 24.
Scotland remains in Phase 3 of its lockdown “route map” but in a statement on August 20, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced further easing of certain restrictions.
This means that instructors and students who have seen their counterparts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland resume lessons in recent weeks can now also get back behind the wheel.
New date for tests to restart
Practical driving tests will restart in Scotland on Monday, September 14, following an announcement by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
That follows the resumption of theory tests on July 22.
Motorcycle and tractor tests resumed in Scotland on August 3.
The DVSA initially said it would automatically rebook all practical tests cancelled due to lockdown. However, these rescheduled tests will not go ahead and all learners will have to rebook their practical tests.
Candidates whose test was rescheduled will be contacted by email to confirm a new test date but the DVSA has not said when learners in Scotland can expect such an email. Learners have been advised that any previous rescheduling should be ignored, with the DVSA advising: “If your car driving test was cancelled due to coronavirus, you were sent an email with a new date and time for your test. The new date you were given will not go ahead. This includes if the new date you were given was after the date tests restart where you live. Do not go for your test on that date.
“The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will email you again to ask you to go online and choose your preferred date and time for your test.”
Candidates are being contacted by the DVSA in batches based on when their test should have originally taken place but it has warned the process could take several weeks.
At the moment, you cannot book a new driving test and when booking resumes drivers with a previous test date will be given priority.
If your theory test certificate has expired during lockdown you will have to resit the theory test before booking a practical test.
When lessons and tests resume, learner drivers will face certain new measures to help protect them, their instructors and examiners from the spread of coronavirus.
Test centres will be issuing examiners with personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves and face masks and they will be given training on cleaning equipment such as sat navs and tablets. You should also expect social distance measures to be in place at test centres and for testing capacity to be reduced.
Driving schools also say that instructors will be provided with PPE and required to thoroughly clean all touch points on their car between lessons.
Ian McIntosh explains: “We will of course commence teaching using only those RED instructors who choose to resume and will make allowances for those who feel the need to self-isolate. This means that all instructors and customers can decide for themselves whether or not to participate in driving lessons.
“In terms of the precautions we’ll be taking, all RED instructors will be required to follow industry best practice on PPE requirements and will be instructed to prepare the car and wipe down the steering wheel and other controls before every lesson.
“Instructors will also be trained in how to reduce viral contamination and ensure best practice for operating a safe driving lesson, and all of our customers will be asked to declare that they are symptom free before they step inside the car.”
This article first appeared on The Scotsman