Driving lessons and tests to resume in England and Wales
Driving lessons will resume on April 12 with tests starting again just over a week later, it has been confirmed.
Thousands of driving students have had to reschedule their lessons and tests over the last year while social distancing measures have made it impossible for two people from separate households to get into a car together.
Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown aimed to get learners back in cars on April 12 when hospitality, personal care salons, gyms, non-essential shops and domestic tourism open up again.
Now, it has been confirmed that this will go ahead and instructors can start working through their backlog of students from Monday.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) tweeted yesterday that all theory tests, motorcycle tests, lorry lessons and tests, car and trailer tests and minibus lessons and tests can resume as planned.
Lessons will resume on April 12 while testing will start again on April 22.
The Agency will also make more dates available, including some bank holidays and weekends, to help deal with the pile-up of delayed appointments.
On March 29, there were 420,000 car tests in the DVSA’s backlog. Those trying to book their assessments were told to expect to be waiting for 17 weeks.
The DVSA has also decided not to extend theory certificates, which people need to have achieved within two years of doing a practical test.
This means that those whose certificates have expired while lessons were banned will have to retake their theory before doing their practical test.
‘This is because your road safety knowledge and hazard perception skills need to be up to date when you restart driving lessons and take your driving test,’ the Agency said.
From December to mid-March, 26,371 people contacted the AA Driving School about when they could take lessons again.
‘Demand is going to skyrocket now instructors can open their books again,’ said the School’s interim managing director Robert Cowell.
He added: ‘After months of uncertainty this is truly welcome news for driving instructors and pupils around the country.
‘Those who started learning to drive before lockdown will now tackle the additional challenge of starting back after the long break.
‘Our driving instructors are ready to help them overcome the additional challenges they have faced being a lockdown learner and we are confident many will be on the road to success very soon.’
It comes after it was revealed that the number of young people in the UK who have a driving licence is at its lowest since records began in November 2012.
Last March there were 3.32 million people between the ages of 16 and 25 who had a full licence. Now, just 2.97 million have a full licence, according to PA analysis of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) records.