Social Distancing Guidelines Mean Scottish Learner Drivers Face 16-Week Wait for Theory Tests

Learner drivers in Scotland face a 16-week wait to sit a theory test due to the backlog caused by lockdowns and the continuation of strict social distancing guidelines at test centres (and across the country). English learners also face an average wait time of almost five weeks. BBC News has the story.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said its testing capacity was limited in Scotland as centres must ensure people observe 2m physical distancing.

South of the border only 1m physical distancing is required.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will look at the situation to see how quickly capacity can be increased.

Driving lessons resumed in Scotland on April 26th and practical driving tests restarted on May 6th, following the easing of lockdown restrictions. 

At the time the U.K.-wide backlog was said to be more than 400,000.

The pandemic [lockdown] has also had a knock-on effect on theory tests and the average wait in Scotland is now 16 weeks.

This compares with 4.6 weeks in England and Wales.

One MSPs claims young people are missing out on jobs due to the backlog…

The DVSA said it did not keep records of whether people who live in Scotland are getting around the delays by crossing the border to sit their theory test.

But it added all candidates were reminded to observe local Covid restrictions.

The theory pass certificate is valid for two years, within which time a learner must pass their driving test or, failing that, resit their theory. The DVSA says this two-year period will not be extended, despite the learner backlog caused by lockdowns, because it is important that road safety knowledge remains fresh at the time of practical tests.

Nicola Sturgeon described the issues involved with delays as “complex and rarely straightforward… In certain environments, 2m physical distancing remains an important mitigation. However, the issue is important and we will continue to look at the situation to see how quickly we can increase capacity and get the backlogs down.”

Worth reading in full.

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