Driving test availability varies throughout the year and wait times are typically longer at busier test centres. Under normal circumstances, test slots are released in batches and when all the slots have been used up, test candidates looking online may find that no test dates are available. The key here is to keep checking until a new batch of test slots has been released.
However, in recent times due to the pandemic, it’s become much more difficult to find any available test dates. Due to the restrictions imposed by the government, the DVSA cancelled over 230,000 driving tests with only key workers permitted to take a practical test. Though driving tests have now resumed for all test candidates, there’s a huge backlog that test centres need to work through.
With the DVSA giving priority to candidates who previously had their test appointment cancelled due to Coronavirus and with new test candidates also looking for available test dates, the online test booking service is unable to cope with demand. The DVSA online test booking service has temporarily been taken offline and will resume on September 1st.
When the online booking service opens, driving test dates will only be available in a batch of up to the following 6 weeks from when it opens. Essentially this is a first come, first served basis. The DVSA is urging test candidates to ensure that they are continuing with driving lessons and that they’re ready for the practical test as test availability might be short notice.
So that the DVSA can react quickly to government notice regarding Coronavirus, this format of a 6 week block will continue for the foreseeable future. There will be no cancellation list or waiting list, but new test dates will become available each week. This means that you’ll be able to see all available driving test dates over a rolling 6 week period.
With the huge number of candidates trying to book a test and with examiners still working through the backlog, it’s likely that tests for some candidates, particularly those trying to book at busy test centres may not be successful at securing a booking until early next year when demand slows down.
Ensure You’re Test Ready
With many tests dates only becoming available at short notice, it’s essential that you are prepared and ready to take your test. Driving instructors are taking all safety precautions by keeping the cars ventilated during lessons, wearing masks and gloves and sanitising the car between lessons. Keep up with driving lessons to ensure you’re ready to take your test at short notice.
Face Masks and the Driving Test
You must wear a face mask when you come for your driving test unless you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering. In this instance, you must declare your reason for not wearing a face mask during the book process of the test. Your test will be cancelled if you arrive without a face covering and you did not declare you could not wear one when you arranged your test.