The AA has revealed the huge delays beginners face when booking a practical driving test.
Drivers in around 66 towns and cities across the UK face more than five months of waiting to book their test. More than 88% of test center wait times were longer than seven weeks.
The exclusive AA Driving School figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, highlight the poor availability of driving tests.
almost impossible delay
Many of the delays can be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to the suspension of driving tests across the UK. This has created a backlog of actual testing, making it difficult for centers to keep up with demand.
The AA’s investigation also exposed regional disparities, made worse by the DVSA’s exam booking system.
Drivers who book a practical test in Swansea have to wait 20 weeks, but in Llanelli can book within 10 weeks. Those in Kent can book their exams for two weeks in Canterbury, but there is a nine-week wait in nearby Herne Bay.
Camilla Benitz, MD, AA Driving School, said: “Candidates have no easy way to check the availability of multiple test centers without manually checking each test center. A better system could save weeks of waiting time because our Wait times vary by as much as three months between test centers in some localities, the data showed.
“We would like to see the DVSA publish test center wait time data on a regular basis to help ensure full accountability in terms of returning to pre-pandemic wait times.”
Before the coronavirus lockdown, the average time from booking a driving test online to taking it practically was six weeks.
“The average waiting time to sit a motor vehicle test is 15.1 weeks and there are currently over 80,000 places”, Transport Minister Richard Holden MP said in a parliamentary debate earlier this month.
However, the AA emphasized that this represented little improvement compared to the data obtained in November 2022. At the time, the average wait time for a practical driving test was 15.5 weeks.
Camilla Benitz added: “It’s great that the Commons has updated some wait times, but we now need to see some clear action to reduce those wait times.”
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