I’m really pleased that driving lessons and tests have now restarted in England, Scotland and Wales.
On Friday 28 May we sent you a joint message with the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) to remind you of the importance of both you and your pupils wearing face coverings during your lessons. We also encouraged you and your pupils to take regular rapid lateral flow tests.
This is really important. It helps to protect the NHS, your friends and families, the driver training industry and our driving test service.
I know many of you are now busy teaching and preparing your pupils for their upcoming tests and to drive safely on their own once they pass their test.
I hope the recently published guidance about the top 10 reasons for failing driving tests and understanding driving test results are useful and are helping you support and prepare your pupils.
Now that driver testing has restarted, the hard work of reducing the backlog as quickly and safely as possible begins. I want to update you on how we plan to do this and explain how we will keep you updated.
Understanding future demand for driving testsWe know how many theory tests and driving tests are booked. And we’re seeing a large increase in people buying our learning materials.
We regularly talk with the driving instructors’ National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP). They’ve told us that many of you are seeing an increase in calls from prospective pupils asking for lessons. And the Department for Transport (DfT) has recently published their travel behaviour, attitudes and social impact of COVID-19 research. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-travel-behaviour-during-the-lockdown
It shows in addition to those who were already wanting to drive, many other people now feel uncomfortable about travelling on public transport.
We have conducted extensive modelling of future demand. But we want to get a fuller picture of the future demand for driving tests.
To help you and us to plan and forecast demand for the future, we want to understand more about the demand you’re facing for lessons. We’ve launched a survey to get your vital views on this and we will share the findings with you as soon as we can.
The survey also asks about:
To give your views and have your say, please fill in the survey by 11:59pm on 25 June. It takes about 10 minutes to do. You can find the survey here https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/ADI_Restart2021
Keeping our safety measures under reviewWe keep our safety measures under constant review, taking expert advice from the relevant Public Health bodies and the Health and Safety Executive and the latest government guidance.
Whilst COVID-19 remains, and to align with the guidance and expert advice we have received, we need to ask for your continued support with:
Increasing the number of driving test appointmentsFrom Monday (14 June 2021) our driving examiners will be returning to carrying out 7 tests each day in England, Scotland and Wales. 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 also reintroducing the short notice cancellation fee from Thursday 17 June. This will help reduce the number of learner drivers who do not turn up for their driving test and free up the test slot to another candidate.
In the coming weeks, we’ll publish our full plan for reducing driving test waiting times and share it with you and your pupils. I’ll update you on this again on this as soon as I can.
Keeping you updatedThe road ahead is challenging for us all. But by working together, we can help to reduce the backlog, help your industry recover and help people stay safe on Britain’s roads.
I’ll write to you again when we can share our strategy for reducing driving test waiting times and explain how you can get involved and give us feedback.
I also urge you to keep up to date with the NASP website at https://n-a-s-p.co.uk/ and seek advice from a NASP member national association if you have any queries, questions or concerns.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
I hope that you, your family and your friends remain safe and well.
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency