Learners will have to wait almost three times longer to rebook failed driving tests: Plan to extend period to 28 days will make people ‘think twice’ about if they’re ready
- Learners who fail a test currently have to wait 10 days before rebooking another
- New proposals under consultation will look to extend that period to 28 days
- DVSA says the extension would improve pass rates and cut 3-month waiting lists
- It would also make learner think twice about if they’re full prepared to take a test
Learners who fail their driving test could be forced to wait almost three times as long to rebook their next attempt under new plans being drawn up by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.
Currently, a learner has to allow 10 days before booking another test but the DVSA now wants to extend that period to 28 days.
Bosses said the move would make learner ‘think twice’ about sitting tests when they’re knowingly not ready to do so and aims to improve pass rates, despite average failure rates last year being lower than they were in 2019.
The DVSA hopes the move will help to reduce the three-and-a-half month waiting list for practical tests that has built up over the last two years due to Covid lockdowns and restrictions.
DVSA wants to extend the period for learners to rebook driving tests after failing in a bid to improve the 47% average pass rate. The move will aims to cut down on the 3-month waiting list for exams
This is Money exclusively revealed that the backlog of driving test bookings quadrupled in a year due to the pandemic.
Figures we obtained showed that there were 147,716 learners waiting to sit their test on 31 August 2020. However, by the same date the following year, that figure had risen to a massive 592,987.
With the DVSA under pressure to reduce this waiting list, it says forcing those who have recently failed to wait longer to resit the exam should help to increase pass rates.
The backlog for all practical driving tests soared in the past year due to delays to lessons and exams returning during the pandemic
Yet while the five-year data suggests that 53 per cent of learners are failing, official records show that average pass rates in recent months were higher than before the pandemic.
Department for Transport statistics show the average pass rates from 2015 to 2020 was almost 47 per cent. However, the latest data available for 2021 shows the pass rate was currently above average at 51.6 per cent.
The extension of the rebooking period for driving tests is one of a battery of proposals put forward for a consultation launched this week.
The DVSA is also proposing extending the notice period, during which a cancelled test will result in a lost fee, from three to 10 days.
It hopes the move will encourage learners to give more notice when cancelling and so give better prepared learners more chance to take advantage of short-notice test appointments.
DfT stats show the average pass rates from 2015 to 2020 was 46.4%. However, the latest data available for 2021 shows the pass rate was currently above average at 51.6%
The DVSA is also considering allowing the eyesight check section of the test to be carried out in different lighting levels or by reading from a tablet so more exams can take place in the dark winter months and help a majority of new drivers who are not confident about driving in the dark.
Mark Winn, chief driving examiner for DVSA, said: ‘With nearly half of all learners still failing their first car driving test, it is clear we need to do more to make sure learner drivers only take their test when they are fully prepared.
‘These measures will help make sure learners who are test-ready can find appointments and give those who fail more time to get additional practice. Changing the eyesight test will help more tests go ahead in the darker winter days.
‘I would encourage anyone and everyone to respond to our consultation, and thank everyone for their time in offering feedback.’
We have a new consultation and want to hear from you❗
Have your say on proposals that will encourage learners to be better prepared for their car driving test. We believe the measures will reduce test waiting times and allow us to provide more tests ��https://t.co/bv6mjZdN0E pic.twitter.com/7yxAMEteYq
— Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (@DVSAgovuk) January 25, 2022
The DVSA is also proposing a new requirement for driving instructors to display their registration certificate on every test to help improve its ability to identify instructors who need support and advice through standards checks.
New drivers could also receive a digital pass certificate under plans to modernise the test process.
If agreed, these new measures will join a host of others put in place by the DVSA last year in its bid to trim back the waiting list of learner drivers.
It announced last summer that it would make 15,000 to 20,000 more test slots available per month as part of its efforts to speed-up exams and allow more people to gain their driving licence.
Other measures introduced included holding tests out-of-hours, providing examinations on weekends and public holidays as well as offering overtime and annual leave ‘buy back’ for examiners.
It also held a campaign to recruit 300 extra test examiners and asked people who were qualified to conduct driving tests to return to the job including asking recently retired examiners to conduct tests.
These new measures proposed by DVSA are currently at a consultation phase, which ends on 8 March.
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