Everything you need to know about the changes to booking practical driving tests

Driving tests were prohibited during coronavirus lockdowns, leading to a backlog of candidates. Credit: PA

Learner drivers should soon be able to access tests more easily following changes to the booking system that aims to tackle the backlog.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said more needs to be done to make sure learner drivers only take their test when they are fully prepared.

Here is all the information you need to know about the proposed changes:

What are the main changes being brought in for practical driving tests?

The DVSA plans to extend the period that those who fail their test have to wait before booking another test from 10 to 28 days.

The agency is also planning to extend the notice period during which a cancelled car test will result in a lost fee from three to 10 days.

Ministers will consider proposals suggesting other ways to carry out the eyesight check that is not dependent on good daylight or reading a car number plate, using more methods of checking people’s eyesight when they take the driving test.

Following a consultation, ministers agreed with the proposal for digital pass certificates to be issued to those who pass their theory test and driving test, instead of paper versions.

The proposed changes apply to England, Scotland and Wales. You can find more information here.

Why are driving tests changing and when will the new rules come into effect?

The DVSA said it is altering the system to discourage drivers from booking tests before they are ready, which will free up slots for those who are.

Tests were banned over lockdown, with the resulting backlog forcing drivers to wait months before getting the chance to lose their L-plates.

The measures aim to discourage learner drivers who are not ready to take a test from booking one, and will come into effect in the summer. What is the percentage of those who fail their tests?

According to the DVSA’s data from February 2023, around 53% of tests are failed, and examiners are having to physically intervene in more than 12% of tests for safety reasons.

Will the cost of practical tests go up?

No. The standard fee for a test stays at £62 for daytime weekday slots, and £75 for evenings, weekends or bank holidays.

The DVSA wants to reduce the number of people attempting the test when they are not ready. Credit: PA

What does the DVSA have to say about the proposed changes?

Loveday Ryder, chief executive of the DVSA, urged learner drivers to check the agency’s website for advice before booking a test.

She said: “With more than half of people failing their driving test, it is clear more needs to be done to make sure learner drivers only take their test when they are fully prepared.

“These new measures will help make sure test-ready learners find appointments and give those who fail more time for more practice.

“I also urge learners to check out our Ready to Pass? website to make sure they’re ready – and delay their test if they’re not.

“This will help make more tests available and prevent them having to pay to retest.”

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