To help tackle the waiting list for driving tests we have been working on a number of ways to increase the amount of driving test appointments available.
We wanted to update you on the things we have been working on:
Returning to 7 tests a day
From Monday 14 June 2021 we will be increasing the number of tests our examiners in England, Scotland and Wales carry out each day to 7 – this is the number carried out before the pandemic.
This change will allow us to increase capacity across the national network by an average of 15,000 to 20,000 tests per month.
We are doing this because our driving examiners are now used to carrying out additional COVID-19 safety measures, so we can now carry out 7 driving tests each day with little risk of over-running.
This means we can keep these safety measures in place to protect learner drivers and examiners whilst safely increasing the number of tests per day.
We will be increasing the number of tests by adding an additional test at the end of the working day so tests currently booked will not be affected.
We’ll also be able to start offering early morning and evening tests.
When will the new appointments be available to book?
We will start gradually adding new appointments on to the booking system on a daily basis from 9 June.
Alternatively if you are registered to use the book and manage driving tests for your pupils service you can use this to check for new appointments in your area.
We recently contacted candidates with a booking on hold to let them know that they needed to choose a test appointment date by 31 August or their booking will be cancelled.
We will be writing to them again to let them know that as we are returning to 7 tests a day, additional test appointments will be added to the booking service so more tests will be available to choose from.
Circumstances when pupils cannot take a driving test
Your pupils will not be able to take their driving test if they meet any of the following criteria:
- they have any coronavirus symptoms (high temperature, fever, new continuous cough, a change or loss of smell or taste from normal).
- they have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace in the last 14 days.
- they are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test or have had a positive test in the last 7 days.
- they have visited a school, college or other building that has been closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the last 7 days.
- they live with someone who has either tested positive for COVID-19 or had symptoms of COVID–19 in the last 14 days.
Areas where the new variant is spreading
In locations where there is an enhanced Covid response in place, we will write to candidates before their test to make them aware of this.
Our driving examiners will also ask all candidates these questions before taking them out on test. If they answer yes to any of the above criteria their test will be cancelled and they will be asked to reschedule.
To do this they can email us at email@example.com and we can help them look for the earliest possible appointment once they have finished self-isolating.
The importance of your pupils being ready for their test
It’s important that your pupils take their test only when both you and your pupil are confident they can pass. This will help them to avoid a lengthy wait for a retest and help us by not adding to the backlog of tests.
Reintroducing short term cancellations
We are also reintroducing the 3 working day short notice cancellation period for practical car tests. This was temporarily suspended when we restarted testing in July 2020 following the first lockdown.
All tests taking place from Thursday 17 June 2021 will be subject to the 3 working day short notice cancellation period.
We will be writing to all candidates with tests taking place from 17 June to let them know of this change.
If you or your pupil need to cancel a test within the 3 working day period as a result of a positive COVID-19 test result or having to self-isolate you will need to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please put – COVID SHORT NOTICE CANCELLATION – in the subject of the email and we will look to reschedule the test for the earliest possible appointment.
To do this email us at email@example.com and we can help look for the earliest possible appointment once they have finished self-isolating.
You or your pupil may be asked to provide evidence when cancelling at short notice.
If your pupil cancels their test within the 3 working day period or fails to turn up to their test they will lose their test fee.
Potential contract for driving examiner recruitment
Another aspect of our ongoing work to reduce waiting times is recruiting additional driving examiners. We had a positive response to our recruitment campaign, but there are some areas of the country where we still need to recruit more examiners, including the South East.
To support this we are exploring options to temporarily contract in experienced driving assessors to qualify as driving examiners and will run a further recruitment campaign in the weeks ahead.
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