The theory test has been suspended once again but critical workers can still apply for an emergency theory test if they need to. The driving test also remains suspended indefinitely (any mention of the previous suspension deadline lasting for three months from the 20th of March have now been removed). So it all means:
If you have a theory test booked for this month
… you’ll get an email to tell you that your test has been postponed. You’ll then get another email asking you to go online and choose your preferred date and time for your test.
If you have a rescheduled date for your car driving test
… the test will not go ahead and “you will be asked to go online and choose a suitable date and time when driving tests can restart.”
So when are tests going to restart?
The Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), Gareth Llewellyn, also sent out a letter to all approved driving instructors on the same day of the new suspension announcement, offering an update “on the planning we’re doing to help return to life that is as close to normal as possible, as quickly and fairly as possible, in a way that avoids a second peak of infections.”
Llewellyn says that the DVSA have been working extremely hard over the past few months to make sure they are in the best possible position to restart services as soon as it is safe to do so. The work is split into six main areas:
1. Preparing guidance for driving examiners on carrying out driving tests (such as the PPE they need to wear).
2. Making sure driving test centres are ready to reopen (as they have been closed for 12 weeks).
3. Making sure there is PPE in place (as the DVSA has had to wait for face coverings and gloves to become available due to limited stock).
4. Understanding which driving examiners might not be able to return to testing straight away (as some may be too clinically vulnerable from coronavrius for instance).
5. Planning driving test schedules so that anyone who had a test cancelled because of coronavirus is considered a priority – but there will be limitations for three main reasons:
- Rescheduled dates might not be suitable for driving instructors and their pupils, as situations may have changed.
- Not all driving examiners will be available.
- Social distancing measures might limit the number of tests that can be carried out.
6. Understanding how the situation might be different in England, Scotland and Wales (so the DVSA is talking to the devolved administrations about how this might affect restarting testing services in Scotland and Wales).
Finding a way forward
The DVSA finishes by saying: “Coronavirus is the biggest and most complex challenge the country has faced in a generation. Our aim has been to help slow the spread of coronavirus and to save lives. This continues to be our overriding priority.”
It’s difficult to argue with that so for learners, stay patient. To read the full letter from the DVSA, click here.
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