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Learners face waiting until 2023 to book their driving test amid massive DVLA backlog


LEARNERS face waiting until 2023 to book their driving test meaning thousands of youngsters could miss out on valuable job opportunities thanks to a massive backlog.

The horror stalling of tests comes amid a breakdown of operations at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in the wake of Covid lockdowns.

The stalling of tests comes amid a breakdown of operations at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency in the wake of Covid lockdowns

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The stalling of tests comes amid a breakdown of operations at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency in the wake of Covid lockdownsCredit: Alamy

At least five major cities in Britian, including London and Birmingham, appeared to not have a single test slot until November, which is the limit of the booking window.

The carnage prompted the AA to warn that school and university students are finding it “incredibly difficult” to plan their futures and may not be able to take up jobs if they can’t drive.

They also added that learning to drive was no longer a “rite of passage” for youngsters.

In London, there appeared to be no test slots for at least 24 weeks on the DVSA test booking website as of Saturday, The Telegraph reported.

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Come November, students in the capital would be forced to travel to Peterborough or Ipswich, where only a few test slots were available.

Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and Bristol were all chockablock for tests until November, too.

And in a gloomy warning, the DVSA added that many learners will not be able to qualify until 2023 at the earliest.

Though they stressed some could try and bag a spot earlier if people cancel their tests.

Matthew Gibson, a small business owner from Bury, Greater Manchester says his eldest son has only managed to book three tests in the last three years.

Only one test can be booked at a time, meaning a wait of half a year or more to try again.

Matthew’s got another son in the same boat and he slammed the DVSA for their system which “clearly has huge delays”.

While Georgina Clark, 26, from Coventry, who started trying to book a test in January now has one for September.

But being unable to drive has left Georgina – who DJs at night – feeling unsafe as men harass her when she’s on her own.

The average wait time for a test was 14 weeks but the DVSA insisted more testing would be made available after expanding the hours that tests can take place.

It comes as it launched a mammoth recruitment drive to get an extra 300 examiners behind the wheel to cope with the demand.

But the DVSA said fearful students are driving the backlog as they book tests before they even begin lessons, many turn up totally unprepared on the day.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “It’s incredibly difficult for young people to plan their future. Learning to drive is incredibly important to the start of adult life.”

The AA and the Driving Instructors Association (DIA) warned that the shortage was exacerbated by better-off students paying for driving tests through websites that use algorithms to snap up slots as they become available.

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Loveday Ryder, DVSA chief executive, encouraged candidates to travel to take up available test slots and stressed the DVSA is doing “all we can” to get the show back on the road.

On Saturday ministers threatened to overhaul the DVSA, with a government source telling The Telegraph: “If the system continues to impose these waiting times then we’ll look at changing the system.”





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