Driving instructors are feeling ‘abandoned’ and ‘confused’ during the Covid-19 crisis as workers are still unsure when and how they can resume teaching.
This is according to the National Joint Certified Driving Instructors Council (ADINJC) who say they are unable to schedule lessons for learner drivers as there is ‘no proper plan’ set out by the Driver. and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for them.
the DVSA suspended driving tests in England, Scotland and Wales for up to three months from March 20 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Key workers were the only learner drivers able to request tests amid the crisis.
But as the three-month period draws to a close and the lockdown begins to ease in various forms across the UK, driving instructors are looking to clarify the situation.
Lynne Barrie, President of ADINJC, explained: “As an industry, we feel really let down right now and very confused by the messages the government is sending.
“We hold a meeting every week with the DVSA which controls the register of driving instructors and of which we, as a national association, are stakeholders.
“However, the news coming out is very spasmodic and really doesn’t help us plan ahead.”
ADINJC also says instructors are forced to feel they should return to work.
“Many obviously feel nervous about coming back,” she said.
“We have instructors with students who have practice tests on June 17 and have no idea if those will take place,” she continued.
“There is no proper plan for us to know if we can train the students first and then take them when they are ready for the test.
“The theory tests are also very uncertain,” she said.
On Monday, June 1, ADINJC said it received an email notification from the DVSA that theory tests would be canceled for two more days.
“However, from June 4, we do not know if the tests will be canceled again or continue,” she said.
“We can’t run a system on two days’ notice.
“Candidates have paid for these tests and revise ready for them but with no certainty that they will take place, we may be in an unusual situation but this is totally unacceptable for the candidates and their trainer drivers.”
It comes as a DVSA spokesperson said: ‘Private practice should only be considered if learners are preparing for an essential driving test and the person who will be supervising you lives in the same household.
“Any practice must be complementary to prior training with a professional instructor.
“You should also check that the car is safe to drive and that the appropriate insurance is in place.”
ADINJC recognizes that safety is a priority in this situation.
“Safety is at the heart of all driver trainers and the majority of us have, in addition to teaching critical workers, voluntarily adhered to government guidelines and stayed home for everyone’s safety.
“However, while we welcome the Chancellor’s extension of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, a disproportionate number of our members are not covered by this or other government schemes and are in dire financial straits. disastrous.
“We have asked the DVSA to work with us to establish a way forward, so that we and our customers can plan and prepare, and we have undertaken extensive risk assessments and produced what we believe are measures of Covid safety in preparation.
“It is not only the theoretical tests that affect learner drivers, but they also need practical lessons to prepare for their driving tests and enable them to avoid using public transport, in accordance with government directives, and to contribute to post-Covid-19 recovery.
“The longer this uncertainty continues, the greater the backlog, pent-up demand and wait time for testing.”
He comes after a sting letter was written to Baroness Vere, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, and senior staff at the DVSA.
The National Associations Strategic Partnership (NASP) is a representative body focused on advancing the interests of Certified Driving Instructors (ADIs).
They claim that they are often given information that they are unable to pass on to members.
“Often in the meetings we attend with DVSA, the information given to us is given in the strictest confidence and is unusable in terms of dissemination to our members.
“We should work on every meeting to have at least one item to be able to update members with, even if this update is a ‘what are we doing to handle this crisis’ type update.
“The main downside of the lack of clear messaging, and the immediate concern, is that guidance is still not available as to whether to retake practice tests and trainers are still unsure whether to retake training.
“As the gap quickly closes between rescheduled test drive dates, from June 17 and now, we have a divided ADI community.
“Some of them are returning to work now to prepare their students for these dates (despite official DVSA tweets saying only key worker training should take place at this time) and those sitting at home, respecting the advice of DVSA, but worrying that their student may be faced with leaving to test without adequate preparation and after months of absence on the road.
What the DVSA says
A DVSA spokesman said they were monitoring the situation “continuously”.
“We understand how difficult the current situation is for the industry, but our top priority is to stop the spread of coronavirus and keep everyone safe,” they said.
“We will continue to work closely with driving instructor associations on how and when we can resume driving tests and lessons.
“We are continuously monitoring the situation, in accordance with government guidelines, and will provide further information as soon as possible.”