Driving lesson

Driving test backlog sees learners waiting months for tests in Carlisle

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) booking system has been inundated with people trying to book their driving tests since it reopened after lockdown in April last year.

It is estimated that around 520,000 people are currently waiting to take their driving test in Britain.

Despite the introduction of additional tests and measures to reduce the backlog, learner drivers still have to wait months for their road test.

Carlisle drivers will need to book months in advance for their test (PA)

According to the Driving Test Cancellations 4 All website, which checks the DVSA website thousands of times a day for tests, learner drivers have to wait up to 11 weeks to book a driving test in Carlisle, the latest figures reveal.

Findings from learner driver insurance company Marmalade indicate they don’t expect it to improve until January 2024.

A Marmalade spokesman said: “With the 2020/21 lockdowns causing carnage in the driving test booking system, we have seen a backlog rumble over the last 12 months.”

They added: “With the demand for drive tests expected to greatly exceed the number of slots available at the start of this year, the backlog of drive tests will peak in May, when there will be more than half a -million (520,581) learners want to book a test.

Latest rules introduced for learner drivers by the DVSA

Learner drivers who fail their driving test will now have to wait 28 days to retake it, instead of the previous 10 days.

It has been extended to encourage learners to “think twice” before rushing to retake their test unprepared.

It is hoped this will help reduce the backlog of people waiting for a test, as it will ensure that those who are prepared can get a slot.

Last month, the DVSA suggested in consultations that the notice period for forfeiting fees when canceling a test be extended from three to 10 days.

Mark Winn, Chief Driving Examiner for DVSA, said: “With almost half of all learners still failing their first driving test, it’s clear we need to do more to ensure that learners drivers only take their exam when they are fully prepared.

“These measures will help ensure that learners who are ready for the test can find appointments and will give those who fail more time to get additional practice.”