'It's ridiculous': Father's anger over six-month driving test delay

Learning to drive can be a stressful time - even more so when your theory test is about to run out P

Driving tests may have resumed in Norfolk but there is a huge backlog because of high demand - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A dad who relies on his daughter for care says it's "ridiculous" she can't book a driving test due to a huge backlog - and that the government won't be extending theory test validity dates to accommodate delays.

The 49-year-old, who does not want to reveal his name, said he lives in a village outside of Holt with his daughter. She is studying at university, but also acts as his carer and has a part-time job on top.

He said: "She's passed her theory test but now can't get her practical. She's tried pretty much every test centre in the East of England for three weeks straight. It's absolutely ridiculous."

A Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency spokesperson said the average wait time for a test was 14 weeks, but that it was doing all it could to make new slots available.

They said booking windows are always 24 weeks in advance and that new tests for the 24th week are released every Monday throughout the day. Candidates need to continually check the system for slots that may become available earlier when others reschedule or cancel.

They added that because new drivers are disproportionately represented in accidents, the government won't be extending theory test certificates. 

Learner driver. David Jones/PA Wire

Learners will have to re-take their theory tests if their certificate expires before they're able to get a practical test - Credit: PA

If certificates expire while waiting for a test learners must take another one.

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But the dad said: "She needs to be able to drive because she looks after me, has lots of places to be and we live in the middle of nowhere.

"The nearest town is six miles away, and there's only two buses that run in the village. Having to wait six months just for the chance to book a test is so frustrating.

"It'll be even more frustrating if she has to re-take her theory."

Loveday Ryder, DVSA's chief executive, said: "We are doing all we can to provide as many tests as possible so we can get our services back to normal."

He said candidates should only take tests when they are "confident" to avoid lengthy waits for a resit and help examiners tackle the backlog.

Other measures being put in place to reduce waiting times involve testing on weekends, a new examiner recruitment drive, current examiners being offered overtime and annual leave buy-back and having ex-examiners being brought back in to conduct tests.

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