A petition has been widely discussed in recent days regarding learners and their driving tests.
The petition aims to get a government debate on whether driving instructors should have a mandate to pass learners who cannot take the tests due to the current lockdown.
He says how “unfair” the situation is for learners who have not been able to book a test to have to wait a very long time to be able to book one.
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It has already collected more than 50,000 signatures and if another 50,000 sign, it will be debated by MPs.
Many learners who have taken the recommended number of courses are understandably upset and frustrated by the situation.
One Twitter user wryly said, “We love that our driving test got canceled due to Covid. Then the DVSA picked a new date and time for me. But my instructor can’t do that date and that won’t let me re-book as apparently there are 0 places available for the whole of 2021.”
One problem is that theory tests expire after two years, and without a theory test, one cannot book their practice.
This is to ensure that the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can confirm that their road knowledge is up to date.
Consequently, some looked for reason to complain as another tweeted, “So annoying that my first driving test was canceled and the one booked for March probably won’t happen. My theory runs out in March, so I’ll have to do it all over again.”
What do you think of the petition? Join the discussion here.
London Driving Instructors have offered their take on the situation and the petition in question.
Michael Gambin, from Southgate, has been a driving instructor since 2006.
He hasn’t signed the petition and thinks it’s not a good idea.
“While 99% of driving instructors are honest and straightforward, there are unfortunately a few bad apples that could easily make this proposition corrupt,” he said.
“The best example of this is the Pass Plus program.
“It was a very good program, but it was used as a source of income for some certified driving instructors, which is why most insurers no longer recognize it.”
He said that for the petition to succeed, it would require a change in the law which would not be viable.
“If they haven’t changed the law to allow an extension of the theory test, there’s no way they’re changing it for that.”
Another teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, was a lecturer at a college for 16 years.
Together with his team, he decided whether the student learner was competent enough to drive or not.
Regarding the petition, he said: “I think as instructors we should be able to assess their skills, but there still needs to be some sort of test.
“DVSA has reviewers – there are usually varying inconsistencies between pass and fail as each reviewer has their own personality and decides the results.
“If instructors had the ability to make the decision to allow students to drive alone, there would be better drivers on the roads. A student might be lucky to pass a test and be dangerous on the roads.”
He mentioned that there should be a limit to the number of hours a student must go through and complete certain goals on a checklist before moving on.
The government responded to the petition on January 19, saying: “There is no provision in the legislation for an approved driving instructor (ADI) to carry out a driving test for a learner driver.
“The government has no intention of tabling legislation to change this.”
The statement went on to say that the DVSA would ensure measures are in place once it is again possible to drive safely and increase the availability of testing.
When it does, however, that’s another matter.