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Driving test wait times up another 20% as DVSA plan is failing

The promise that DVSA is ‘taking all measures it can to reduce waiting times’ rings hollow as waits increase by 20 per cent

Learner

UK driving test waiting times have increased incrementally each month since February, with the average wait for tests reaching 17.8 weeks in May. That’s in spite of promises from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency chief executive, Loveday Ryder, that her organisation is “taking all measures it can to reduce waiting times”.

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In a blog post back in January, Ryder wrote that measures included asking more manager and admin colleagues with a driving test warrant card to do driving tests full time from October 2023. “This will help us to reduce driving test waiting times,” she said.

The reality is different, according to new figures released by AA Driving School, following a freedom of information request to the DVSA. As well as showing a 20 per cent average waiting time rise of 20 per cent, the AA says there’s a 33 per cent increase in the number of test centres where candidates are waiting longer than five months. 51 per cent of test centres have seen average wait times increase this year, while 93 per cent of test centres have waits longer than the pre-pandemic average.

Measures to tackle driving test waiting times are failing, says the AA Driving School, which wants reducing the driving test backlog and improving waiting times for learners to be a key priority for all political parties ahead of the general election in July. 

“Enough is enough. The additional test slots the DVSA added to the system between October and March have made no difference to the average waiting time learners up and down the country are facing,” says Camilla Benitz, Managing Director AA Driving School. 

“In fact, learners faced longer average waiting times in May than they did in February. More has to be done to address this issue. Being able to drive is not a luxury – for many people it is an absolute necessity to get them to work, education and employment.

The AA is calling for a renewed commitment to making more test slots available from the DVSA, but is also demanding that the organisation takes steps to recruit and retain more examiners.

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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