The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has come in for a truckload of criticism in recent weeks over the lack of availability for driving tests.
While the DVSA states the current average waiting time for a driving test is 14 weeks, some learners who sit and fail their driving test are now having to wait months and not a matter of weeks to sit another.
One such learner driver, who did not want to be named, said: “Unfortunately I didn't pass my driving test on April 12, on my second attempt. These things happen and I wasn't upset about it knowing well why it happened.
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"The thing is, it used to be the case that you could easily get another date. Now, I am having to wait until September 12 just to get a third try out of it all. Due to the coronavirus, which caused quite a few stoppages of lessons and driving tests, there has been a very heavy backlog of driving tests to clear up.
"Since I have no other access to a car other than the driving instructor's, this is just going to cost me more money than I have expected to spend – as I need to keep doing lessons occasionally to keep up at it.
"The DVSA have said they are getting more examiners on the road, but the backlog is still not clearing up to a point where you could get a test the following month, which I would accept. The backlog is just as bad as it was last year.
"I was unable to get any test in March for Grangemouth, so before the cancellation for April came up it looked like I would have had to have waited for May for my second test"My instructor was not willing to consider other test centres and, even then, Stirling had no dates in March either.”
There are reports these delays are also having an adverse impact on instructors, who are unable to take on new students until later in the year because they are still getting existing students ready to sit their tests.
Loveday Ryder, DVSA chief executive, said: “We are doing all we can to provide as many tests as possible so we can get our services back to normal. I know learners will be keen to take their test now, but it is important they are properly prepared for their test and don’t take it before they are ready.
“With more than half of candidates failing, and demand currently extremely high for tests, learners should only take their test when they are confident they can pass.
This will help to avoid a lengthy wait for a retest and help us by not adding to the driving test waiting list.”
Mr Ryder stated the DVSA has taken several measures to increase test frequency – including a campaign to recruit an additional examiners, conducting out of hours testing – on weekends and on public holidays – offering overtime and annual leave buy back to driving examiners and asking recently retired examiners to come back and conduct tests.