BREAKING: Driving Tests Booking System Open to the Public!

Breaking news from the DVSA! For the first time since March 20th, the practical test booking system is open to the general public once again! If you’re learning to drive and want to know what all of this means for you, read on.

What has changed?

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Image source: Markus Spiske via Pexels

When the coronavirus pandemic first hit in March, the DVSA responded by postponing all practical and theory tests. This was a real blow to any learners hoping to pass their test, and left many wondering when it would be possible to take their test.

The process of resuming testing began slowly, with emergency tests becoming available for NHS and social care staff. Applications for emergency tests were open until August 14th.

Next, tests began reopening to the general public. The first stage in this was offering new test dates to those whose previous test booking was cancelled due to coronavirus. The DVSA contacted these candidates via email in groups and completed this process on August 16th.

Only after these steps were taken was it possible to reopen driving tests to the rest of the general public. Now, however, the show is back on the road: at 8am on August 21st, the test booking system reopened! This means that any learner driver with a valid theory test pass certificate can now book their practical test.

What does this mean for learner drivers?

It’s good news: anyone can log on and book their own test for the first time since March! Similarly, if you’re learning alongside a driving school like PassMeFast, they’ll be able to book a new test for you.

In the short term, it’s highly likely that the reopening of the system will lead to a large influx in new test bookings to account for demand. Additionally, the number of candidates allowed to take a test at any one time has been reduced. As a result of these factors, you may notice that test waiting times are slightly longer than usual in the short term.

Are there any additional safety measures that I need to follow?

Woman in suit wearing a face mask while driving
Image source: Gustavo Fring via Pexels

Driving tests, by their nature, carry some risk of spreading coronavirus. To help mitigate this, the DVSA has put in place certain new procedures to follow to help keep practical tests safe for examiners and students alike.

  • To avoid spending more time indoors than necessary, do not arrive to the test centre more than 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.
  • During the test, examiners will be wearing face coverings, with the option to wear gloves and use disposable seat covers.
  • You may not invite your instructor or an accompanying driver to sit in the back of the car during the test.
  • Candidates must also wear a face covering unless they have a good reason not to do so. Wearing glasses does not count as an acceptable reason. You must declare your reason for not wearing a face covering at the time you book your test.
  • Examiners will curtail tests in the instance that you fail by making a serious or dangerous fault. This minimises the amount of time you spend in the car.
  • Feedback will be given outside of the car, instead of while seated. You may invite your instructor over to listen to this feedback, if safe to do so.
  • If you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19, or have been told by NHS Test and Trace that you have come into contact with someone who has the virus, do not attend the test. You can change your appointment free of charge.

My theory test expired during lockdown. Will this be extended?

Unfortunately, due to existing legislation, it is not possible to extend the validity of theory test pass certificates. This means that you will need to take the theory test again. The same will apply if your theory test expires while you are self-isolating.

What is the status of emergency tests?

A knitted NHS flag hanging on a tree
Image source: Tugce Gungormezler (via Unsplash)

If you already have an emergency test booked, this appointment will go ahead. Those who applied for an emergency test but are still waiting to book one will receive an email from the DVSA containing a link to the booking service. As noted above, it is no longer possible to apply for new emergency tests.

What happens if I live in an area under local lockdown?

The DVSA will contact any candidates whose test will be affected by local lockdowns. This may include those who live in an area under lockdown, or those whose test centre is based in one of these areas.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on any further developments relating to driving and theory tests as they happen. We’re excited to see more learners getting on the road and achieving their goals in the weeks ahead!

By Andy Boardman

Andy has been part of the PassMeFast Blog team from the very beginning. He'll provide you with plenty of useful motoring advice, helping you to get the most out of every trip. When he's not writing here, you're most likely to find Andy on the way to his next destination.

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