Sitting your driving test is up there as one of the most nerve wracking things most people will do in their lifetime! However due to the Coronavirus pandemic, many people have had their tests cancelled, adding to the uncertainty. But as lockdown starts to slowly ease, we take a look at what’s next for driving tests and how they could look post-lockdown.
Are all tests cancelled?
Both theory and practical driving tests were suspended on 20th March 2020 as part of the nationwide effort to try and stop the spread of coronavirus but, the good news is that from 22nd July 2020 in England and 17th August 2020 in Wales, car driving tests will restart. Tests in Scotland are still suspended for the time being. Many people with practical tests booked in during the lockdown period, will have already been contacted with a new date for their test, but that rescheduled test date is no longer valid even if it falls after the date of when tests are restarting. The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will be emailing everyone with cancelled tests in the coming weeks with details of how to go online and rebook the test. You cannot currently book a driving test if you didn’t have one booked before lockdown.
Are there any exceptions?
There are some exceptions to the rule, right from the 20th March 2020, anyone who needed to take a test due to being classed as a critical worker could apply to the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to take a emergency theory and practical test. The DVSA require evidence such as a work badge to prove that the test is essential to carrying out that role in one of the following vocations:
- Health and Social care
- Education and Childcare
- Key Public Services
- Local and National Government
- Food and other necessary goods
- Public safety and national security
- Utilities, Communication and Financial services
Can I keep practicing?
Driving instructors were told to suspend all tuition due to the close proximity of being in a vehicle, apart from for those critical workers who had emergency tests booked in. Since the lockdown started to ease, driving instructors have been able to resume their work from 4th July in England so you should be able to be back out and about practicising with your instructor by now. There is also the option of private practice with someone you live with or who is in your support bubble, aslong as they are over 21 years old and have held a full license for atleast three years with the correct insurance in place.
The DVSA has stressed the importance of learners ensuring that they are full prepared for their test with the right skills and knowledge before booking a test and attempting to pass it in these uncertain times.
How different will driving tests look?
The DVSA have worked hard to make sure that the tests can restart in a safe way by implementing some new rules and safety measures. Candidates are being asked not to arrive more than 5 minutes before their test time and the waiting room at the test centre wont be open. Both the driving examiner and candidate are required to wear a face covering unless you have a good reason not to, which is declared when booking the test. You will be asked to remove your face covering briefly for the examiner to check the candidates ID. They are also trying to limit the amount of people and amount of time spent in the car by not allowing driving instructors to sit in the back of the car for the test, delivering feedback at the end of the test outside of the vehicle and cutting the test short if a major error has been made that automatically results in a fail. So not too many changes and all measures that we are starting to become accustomed to as we move into the ‘new normal’.