The Reason It’s So Hard To Get Driving Lessons and Tests in 2022

The Reason It’s So Hard To Get Driving Lessons and Tests in 2022

In the wake of the 2020 pandemic, many industries saw their work come to a gradual if not immediate halt. Out of a large number of companies that were left unable to continue working in their usual way, the driving industry was no stranger.

As the pandemic restrictions continue to ease in the UK, there is a surge in demand for both lessons and tests needing to be booked by eager potential drivers as they attempt to pick up where they were cut off. Let’s take a look at some of the statistics.

Driving lesson and test statistics

When the peak of COVID-19 hit, driving lessons were suspended during winter 2020 and spring 2021. Lessons were only allowed to restart on:

  • 12 April in England and Wales

  • 26 April in Scotland

Driving Lesson Mask

There was an average 17-week wait for a test once lessons and tests resumed in spring 2021, with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) stating at the time that 450,000 tests had been cancelled.

Data collected by the Department for Transport also shows the number of instructors has decreased by 12 per cent over the past seven years, so it’s not just the pandemic that’s at fault. The numbers have decreased from 44,569 in 2013 to just 39,521 at the start of 2020, with services set to drop further over the coming years.

Further data from insurance company Marmalade suggests the decline could go on for even longer, stating “there could be fewer than 38,000 instructors by 2025”.

And whilst the effects of Covid haven’t helped to speed up the process, the other reason driving students are being put off getting behind the wheel is due to the increase in costs, making it unaffordable for a large number of people. With the cost of driving lessons showing such extreme variations, not just based on the location, but from instructor to instructor. Additionally, with parking in residential areas becoming more difficult and confusing; more and more people are being given parking fines. Find out what UK councils earn from parking fines here.

Stock Paying Bills

Data from the RAC shows the average cost ranges from £25 to £30 per lesson. If you take into account, the top-end cost and times this by 45 lessons, that contributes to £1,350 on driving lessons alone. Save time and money on additional lessons by learning how to parallel park.

Another drawback to the delays in driving lessons and tests has meant that prospective drivers have had to spend more money on extending driving insurance.

When will driving test availability return to normal?

It’s difficult to pinpoint when things may return to normal again, with some areas facing increasingly lengthy waits. One local driving instructor in Northampton says the driving test backlog in Northampton 'could take years to clear'.

To help clear the backlog, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has been offering learners tests on weekends and bank holidays and calling on recently retired examiners to return.

Car Line-up

The UK government has also put together a proposal to improve the availability of driving tests. One of the key changes will be with reference to the eyesight test and the introduction of digital pass certificates. These will allow the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to test later in the day and from a wider range of locations.

These changes could benefit a wider range of customers. They will also further help to reduce the longer than usual waiting times for tests that have resulted from the suspension of testing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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