Driving lessons and tests suspended as new lockdown looms

Monday, 2nd November 2020, 5:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd November 2020, 8:26 am

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced that all driver training and testing in England is to be suspended due to new Covid restrictions.

The body, which is responsible for overseeing all driving lessons and tests, announced on Monday that it was putting all instruction and testing on hold from this week.

It said it had made the move based on the Government’s decision to implement a four-week national lockdown in England.

The lockdown will place severe restrictions on people’s movements in a bid to bring the rising infection rate under control. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that there was no alternative to imposing strict new limits on people’s movements, which bans travel for all non-essential purposes.

Practical driving tests won't resume until December at the earliest (Photo: Shutterstock)

The DVSA has said that all lessons and tests will stop on Thursday, November 5 - the same day as the England-wide lockdown comes into force.

It has said that the suspension will be lifted on Wednesday, December 2, allowing for training and testing to resume.

At the moment the DVSA has not issued any advice for those affected by the latest suspension. However, it has said it will contact affected learners with further guidance “as soon as possible”.

During the previous lockdown, learners with a test date already booked were initially told their test would be automatically rescheduled. However the DVSA later changed its position and asked all learner to rebook their test. This led to the online booking service being overwhelmed and taken offline multiple times as the agency struggled to cope with the volume of applications.

Following the Government announcement on tougher national restrictions from Thursday, driver and rider training and tests will be suspended in England from 5 November until 2 December 2020.

We will be providing further guidance and contacting those affected as soon as we can.

— Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (@DVSAgovuk) November 2, 2020

Driving lessons and tests in England only restarted in July after all instruction was stopped in March as part of the first UK-wide lockdown.

Responding to the announcement, Tom Hixon, head of instructor support at Bill Plant Driving School said it was likely to create another bottleneck of demand into the New Year.

He commented: “We, as I’m sure many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of English learner drivers, are naturally disappointed to hear from the DVSA that driving lessons and driving tests will be suspended.

“We ask that all learner drivers stay in touch with their instructors throughout the upcoming national lockdown, and we can only apologise for the inconvenience and disruption. But of course, it’s important that we all follow the latest government guidelines so that we can slow the spread of COVID-19 once again.

“Thousands of driving instructors within England now find themselves unable to work as of Thursday for the duration of the national lockdown, and we will be working closely with our franchisees to support them.

“The industry is still playing catch up from high demand after the last lockdown was lifted, this again will create requests for driving lessons from December 2 and the New Year. ”

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister site The Yorkshire Post