Driving Test Delays – Why Can’t I Get a Test Until 2022?

Driving Test Delays – Why Can’t I Get a Test Until 2022?

It is estimated that somewhere in the region of half a million practical driving tests were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so it’s no surprise that many people are still finding a severe delay when trying to book their test. The huge backlog has proved very frustrating for learners keen to pass, with many finding they can’t get a test date until way into 2022. But is the pandemic the only factor?

As well as affecting practical tests, theory test centres were also forced to close, which has caused problems for many. Even when they were legally allowed to reopen, smaller centres couldn’t do so because of the rules on social distancing. Even larger test centres were forced to operate at significantly reduced capacity leading to a high number of cancelled theory tests.

Even with the theory test complete, further problems have arisen for many, due to a shortage of driving instructors, a problem that has been exacerbated by Covid, rather than caused by it. As things stand, there simply aren’t enough Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) to deal with the number of people who need lessons. The number of driving instructors has been falling in recent years. According to research by the young driver insurance specialist, Marmalade, since 2013 there has been a drop of 12%.

In addition, you probably aren’t aware that there was a minor baby boom in 2003-2004, so there are more young people coming of driving age than in previous years. Birth figures suggest that this will only continue to grow in future. 

The stresses of the coronavirus pandemic will no doubt have contributed to the decisions of many ADIs to retire or retrain, with a reported fall of 2.34% between 2019 and 2020. Being unable to work during the numerous long lockdown periods has clearly taken its toll on this profession. Some instructors have had to turn people away entirely, while others ended up with long waiting lists upon reopening. According to Marmalade’s research, there are currently up to thirty learners to every instructor in Britain!

This means there has never been a better time to consider a career as a Driving Instructor, and Only Essex Driving School can help by providing quality ADI Training. With great earning potential, flexibility and a real sense of achievement, it could be the right time for a career change. If you are interested in our instructor training packages, give us a call or contact us for an informal chat.

So, what does the immediate future look like for Learner drivers? Many were hoping to pass in order to travel by car to jobs or education, and the delay could cost some dearly, especially those whose theory tests are approaching expiration.  Many are trying desperately to find local cancellations online, while others are booking a slot at a test centre perhaps hundreds of miles away, and hoping that a cancelled slot appears closer to home. Cancelled slots can be found either by manually searching the official DVSA website or apps such as Testi, designed to help learners find test dates.

We at Only Essex Driving would recommend that you make sure you have an instructor before booking your test – if a cancellation does come through, you don’t want the panic of not being ready and have to frantically ring around for an instructor at the last minute! Despite the ADI shortage we do currently have some availability, particularly during the daytime, so if you’re still working from home and can be flexible, this could really work for you. We can also fit our lessons in around your college courses, or schedule lessons around the times you can get childcare, so contact us today and get booked in for driving lessons against the odds!

With the combination of Covid-induced backlogs and increased demand for theory tests, driving lessons and practical driving tests, it appears that learner drivers will continue to face long delays well into 2022. But try to think positive; if you book some lessons now, by the time you reach your test date, you will be a safe and confident driver, more likely to pass first time!

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