With huge delays for learner drivers looking to book driving tests, we look at when new driving test slots are released, if tests are being cancelled and other information to help you get your test as soon as possible.
Here we take a look at whether practical and theory exams are still being taken or bookings made - and how long could you have to wait for a test.
Have driving examinations been cancelled and what are the delays if not? (Credit: gdsteam)
Are practical driving tests being cancelled because of the pandemic?
Theory examinations, which must be passed before a driver can go on to take a practical examination, have not been cancelled due to Covid restrictions at the current time. However, there are long delays as the backlog from the previous lockdowns is cleared. These are said to be anything up to six months.
Where can I book a theory test online through an official website?
The theory test can be booked online here. It is important to book through the official Gov.UK site or you could pay more than you need to.
When making the booking, you will need the following information to hand:
- UK driving licence number
- email address
- credit or debit card
To take one of these exams for a car, you will need to have resided in England, Wales or Scotland for a minimum of 185 days in the past 12 months before the day you sit the theory or practical exam.
The charge for car and motor bike candidates is £23 and must be paid at time of booking the examination.
Are theory exams being taken remotely online?
No. The examinations are held on site in an approved centre. Currently, it is up to you if you want to wear a mask if in England. However, with the pandemic seeing new variants of concern evolving, the advice may change at short notice so always check the latest directive before heading to the centre.
Are practical driving tests being cancelled?
No. Official centres are currently working seven days a week, with out of hours examinations also being offered. However, with reports of 450,000 examinations being cancelled during the previous Covid-related lockdowns there are inevitably long delays in booking the practical assessment.
What day are new driving tests released on the website?
The DVSA says new driving test slots are released on a Monday - for the following 24 weeks. Availability varies between test centres so it advises candidates to keep looking regularly for a suitable date and time. Widening to other test centres can improve your chance of getting an earlier test date.
How long is the wait for a practical driving test in the UK?
Loveday Ryder, Chief Executive Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency, said that the national average waiting times for a car test is about 15 weeks, but he admitted 79 centres were reporting a waiting time of 24 weeks.
Third-party booking sites buying up test slots
Loveday Ryder of the DVSA also spoke out about third-party booking sites using 'bots' to scrape test centre websites to buy up slots as they become available, then sell them on at inflated prices - or even let them go to waste. He confirmed that new anti-bot systems have been introduced to tackle this issue and help free up more tests for those who've previously had them cancelled or want to book a new one.
Can I change my current dates for an earlier one?
If you already have a practical test booked, you can attempt to swap it for an earlier cancellation by checking out the official Government site.
To use this service, log on to the Gov.UK site here.
How likely are driving tests to be cancelled?
With the latest Omicron variant causing concern for experts in the UK, it is impossible to say how likely it is that tests will be cancelled. However, if social distancing rules are made compulsory again, it would seem likely that tests could be cancelled.
Cancellation time limit for driving tests could be changing
The DVSA is proposing that the driving test candidates must cancel their test at least ten days before the appointment if they want to avoid losing their fee. The limit is three working days at present.
Making this change, the DVSA believes, would allow more cancelled test to be taken by another driver and help slash the waiting list by making up to 117,000 test available each year. These figures are based on cancellations seen between April and December in 2021.
We’re proposing that people would need to move or cancel their car driving test at least 10 full working days before the appointment to avoid losing their test fee, rather than the current 3 full working days.
How to contact the DVSA?
You can find all contact details for the DVSA here.
Driving test centre Christmas opening hours 2022
The opening hours for Christmas 2022 have not been released yet, but these were the times for 2021, which could offer some clues as to how the festive season opening could look this year (guidance only).
Driving test centres, vehicle test stations and customer support
|Date||Driving test centres and DVSA vehicle test stations||Customer service centre|
|Friday 24 December||Most centres and stations will be open||Closing at 4pm|
|Saturday 25 December||Closed||Closed|
|Sunday 26 December||Some centres will be open||Closed|
|Monday 27 December||Some centres will be open||Closed|
|Tuesday 28 December||Some centres will be open||Closed|
|Wednesday 29 December||Most centres and stations will be open||Closing at 4pm|
|Thursday 30 December||Most centres and stations will be open||Closing at 4pm|
|Friday 31 December||Most centres and stations will be open||Closing at 4pm|
|Saturday 1 January||Some centres will be open||Closed|
|Sunday 2 January||Some centres will be open||Closed|
|Monday 3 January||Some centres will be open||Closed|
|Tuesday 4 January||Most centres and stations will be open||Open as normal|
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