Changes to Driving Test Booking System 

As the backlog for driving tests grows the DVSA are introducing changes to the booking system that they hope will shorten the waiting lists for driving tests. Currently if you fail your test you can book another one for 10 days’ time, this is going to change to 28 days under the new system.

They are also changing the period of notice that you need to give to cancel your test and get your fee back. It is currently 3 days, this will change to 10 days.

How will this help?

The hope is that people will only book a test when they’re really ready to pass. With over half of people that take their test failing you can understand how they think this is required.

The DVSAs chief executive Loveday Ryder said

“These new measures will help make sure test-ready learners find appointments and give those who fail more time for more practice.”

“I also urge learners to check out our Ready to Pass? website to make sure they’re ready – and delay their test if they’re not.”

“This will help make more tests available and prevent them having to pay to retest.”

However when this went to consultation only a third of people asked thought it would help. It is possible that the learners that are failing their test are up to the required driving standard, but they are failing because of nerves. No-one is at their best when they’re being judged, and it’s easy to make a mistake even if you’re a great driver.

How did the waiting time get so long?

We’d all love the waiting list for driving tests to be shorter, but it’s become this long due to a range of factors. When covid closed the test centres, we all knew the waiting time for tests would get longer. Since then the examiners have been out on strike, and as their job satisfaction is not high there are vacancies at a lot of test centres. You can’t blame them, a lot of driving instructors are being paid more than the examiners, which doesn’t seem fair.

How will this impact learner drivers?

These changes will probably make it more expensive if you fail your test. You will have to wait longer to re-take the test, which may mean more lessons in between tests. Hopefully it will mean people fail fewer tests, as they will have had more lessons. It will be a good thing if they are ultimately better drivers, but some people may have to stop due to the costs involved.

If a learner is unwell they may be more unwilling to cancel a test. A learner with something nasty (covid or flu for example) could cancel three days before the test then they are less likely to go ahead and pass the bug on to the examiner. If you need to cancel ten days before the test to get a refund you may find people will turn up whilst they are still contagious. This isn’t great for the examiners, hopefully people are sensible and stay away if they’re unwell, but it isn’t always the case.

Overall it’s good they’re trying to tackle waiting times for driving tests, but I’m not sure this will have the impact they’re hoping for.


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