Learner drivers in the South left waiting months for driving tests

  • ITV Meridian has been hearing from frustrated learner drivers

Learner drivers in the South are being warned they may have to wait until 2023 before they're able to book a driving test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which is the government department responsible for driving tests, says a huge backlog of tests has built up because of the pandemic.

A chronic shortage of examiners and instructors is adding to the problem.

Industry experts are warning the backlog might not clear until January 2024.

Some learner drivers are having to wait months to take their practical exam Credit: PA

18-year-old Torr Collard, from Reading, failed his driving test last month and is having to wait until December to take another one.

He said: "I took my test in June and failed on one fault. I'm definitely ready to take my test again but it's just not going to happen.

"The nearest test dates are from December onwards.

"I get up every morning and look for a cancellation but even looking for test centres within 20 miles there's none available."

Molly Dwane-Evans, from Wokingham, booked her driving test in April and the earliest slot she could get was September.

She's had to re-take her theory test as it expired during the pandemic.

Molly said: "Because I'm waiting for my test, I have to rely on my mum to take me everywhere which isn't ideal because she works full-time and she has her own plans.

"I've looked for cancellations but there aren't any or they're too far away.

"I feel quite let down and it's making me more nervous for my actual test as there's more pressure to pass now."

Meanwhile, some driving instructors have said this is the worst crisis they have seen throughout their careers.

Nick Cornish, a driving instructor from Newbury, told ITV Meridian: "I've never known it so bad in all the years I've been teaching people to drive.

  • WATCH: Driving instructor Nick Cornish says the situation is "dire".

The backlog has led to driving tests being bulk booked and resold for profit by companies using automated software.

The DVSA has urged people to only book tests via its official website.

A DVSA Spokesperson said: “We are doing all we can to provide learners with as many tests as possible.

“To tackle the high demand for tests we have introduced a number of measures including, recruiting an additional 300 examiners, conducting out of hours testing such as at weekends and on public holidays and asking all those qualified to conduct tests.

“We’ve already put in place measures to monitor and prevent bots from accessing our systems while also strengthening our firewall to tackle the issue.

"We will continue to work tirelessly to crack down on companies that are exploiting learner drivers.”

> The key tips half a million learners are sharing to book their driving tests amid huge backlog