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Driving Test waiting times unacceptably high

February 1, 2016 1:36 PM

Hilperton Driving School carThere are currently no driving tests available to book at Trowbridge and Westbury Driving Test Centres (DTCs), with the possible exception of cancellations which are booked pretty much as soon as they become available, and there is a 12 week wait at the next nearest DTC in Chippenham. For people hoping to get on the road this adds costs, makes it more difficult to pass the test following any unsuccessful attempts and has a negative effect on people's ability to travel and get to work and educational establishments.

On a national level, learner drivers are booking tests way in advance and, as the result of excessively long waiting times, are taking the test, often in their own or relative's cars, before they're ready. This not only poses a safety risk but in itself increases waiting times when they fail. This is disgraceful and totally contrary to the current DVSA Motoring Services Strategy consultation and "cash back" proposals to encourage learner drivers to wait until they are ready to take the driving test. Shorter waiting times would be far more effective!

Other concerns are that people are missing job offers due to not being able to get a driving test in time, people driving on expired foreign licences may continue to do so illegally whilst waiting for a driving test, candidates feeling under pressure during their test since they're worried they'll have to wait for months to take another if they fail, and theory test certificates running out.

It was reported in the national media during summer 2015 that there were waiting times of up to 4 months across the UK and the DVSA were taking priority action to recruit examiners to satisfy demand. According to a recent Freedom of Information request, there were 9 fewer driving examiners at the end of 2015 compared with the end of 2014, 5-7 examiners have retired early in each of 2014 and 2015 whereas none retired early in 2013 and 45-54 examiners resigned in each of 2014 and 2015 whereas only 19 resigned in 2013. Surely this demonstrates DVSA recruitment is struggling to keep the numbers the same as they were in 2014, let alone increase numbers to cope with an increasing demand?

It is unacceptable that people are unable to take a driving test within a reasonable timescale, if not the 6 weeks average waiting time set by the DVSA, and are potentially losing out in financial and career terms. The fact DVSA state the demand for driving tests is at its lowest in winter, where we are now, does not bode well for the future.

DVSA has a monopoly on conducting driving tests.