Instructors have warned of huge delays in booking tests

The Government is facing calls to employ more examiners as driving instructors warn that learners are facing huge delays in booking a test date.

Practical driving tests only resumed in England on April 22, with test centres struggling to keep up with demand, leaving scores of learners unable to find an examination date before the end of the year.

It comes after Government figures revealed that the number of tests carried out in the year up to March 12 had fallen by 72 per cent.

There are concerns about the knock on impact, particularly on young people already struggling to secure jobs in the post-lockdown environment.

Karen Jones, who runs the KS Driving School in Shrewsbury, said that as of Friday there were no available dates at Shrewsbury, Telford, Ludlow or Whitchurch until at least December 5.

The DVSA has however insisted there is availability and said that the average waiting time across the UK is 14 weeks.

The DVSA said that as of 10am on Friday, Shrewsbury had 31 tests available, with an average wait of 10 weeks, while Ludlow had 37, with an average wait of eight weeks.

Mrs Jones said it was a frustrating situation for people who need to pass a test, with extra pressure heaped on those who do manage to secure a date, in case they fail and have to face a lengthy wait for a second go.

She said: "I am gutted for them. It is hard enough for them to get a job coming back from Covid and employers want people who can drive. I feel so sorry for them."

Mrs Jones said many youngsters were using mobile phone apps which allow them to secure cancelled dates – but have to pay up to £100 for the test instead of the normal price of £62.

She called for the Government to extend the hours tests take place in during the day, and to allow them to take place throughout the weekend to clear the backlog.

Les McGowan, who has been a driving instructor for 44 years, getting more then 5,500 people through their test, said he had 20 students waiting for a test at the moment and described the situation as a 'nightmare'.

He said: "What is happening is you cannot book a test and there is already the pressure of taking the test normally but now that is double because if you fail it is six to eight month waiting list for another go."

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

“I know learners will be keen to take their test now, but it is important that candidates are properly prepared and don’t rush to take it.

“With more than half of candidates failing, and demand currently extremely high for tests, learners should only take their test only when they are confident they can pass. This will help them to avoid a lengthy wait for a retest and help us by not adding to the backlog of tests."

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News