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Driving test backlog to be tackled by changes to booking system

30 Mar 2023 2 minute read
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Learner drivers should soon be able to access tests more easily following changes to the booking system which aim to tackle the backlog.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said it is altering the system to discourage drivers from booking tests before they are ready, which will free up slots for those who are.

Tests were banned over lockdown, with the resulting backlog forcing drivers to wait months before getting the chance to lose their L-plates.

According to the DVSA’s data from February 2023, around 53% of tests are failed, and examiners are having to physically intervene in more than 12% of tests for safety reasons.

The DVSA plans to extend the period that those who fail their test have to wait before booking another test from 10 to 28 days, and extend the notice period during which a cancelled car test will result in a lost fee from three to 10 days.

The measures aim to discourage learner drivers who are not ready to take a test from booking one, and will come into effect in the summer.


Loveday Ryder, chief executive of the DVSA, urged learner drivers to check the agency’s website for advice before booking a test.

She said: “With more than half of people failing their driving test, it is clear more needs to be done to make sure learner drivers only take their test when they are fully prepared.

“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.”

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