Nearly 50,000 theory test certificates have expired under UK lockdowns

Published 14 January 2021

Learner drivers across the UK could foot the bill of over £2m from a combination of expired theory test certificates over the two national lockdowns in 2020 combined with the cost to retake the test.

Data obtained through multiple Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) by car insurance provider, Marmalade, showed 49,543 theory test certificates at a cost of £23 each expired over the UK’s two national lockdowns in 2020, amounting to a loss of £1,139,489.

The theory test costs £23 and the certificate is valid for two years from the date the test is passed. Assuming all learners pay to retake the test, a cost of £46 for two theory tests means this set of lockdown learners would have spent a whopping £2,278,978 on theory tests. 

With test centres now closed and no extension to the expiration dates of certificates announced by the UK Government, learners now face the same problem as they did in 2020.

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Over the 149 days of delays in 2020, an average of 332 tests expired each day. It's estimated that nearly 14,000 (13,944) tests will expire by mid-February.

CEO of Marmalade, Crispin Moger said: "We have previously launched a petition to ask the Government to extend these certificates by three months to allow learners the chance to qualify as drivers as soon as it’s possible, something which will also ease waiting times and pressure on theory test centres once they reopen."

"Northern Ireland has announced an extension, while the UK government has said they will not be extending the period, something which will have certainly come as a blow to learners."

Comments

Road Rat Rod    4 days ago

The whole driver testing system organised by DVSA is in chaos. About 10 months of practical driving tests have not taken place equating to about 1.6 million tests, of which about 750,000 would have resulted in a pass.

New drivers need a test to obtain a licence for work opportunities, travel to college, or in normal times, to socialise. Their life chances are being jeopardised by the lack of a driving licence.

This is not directly the fault of DVSA which is restricted by government dictat, but there appears to be no plan B to provide tests when restrictions are lifted. For a short period last year some tests were provided under onerous conditions, but the number was very limited due to staff shortages and only 5 a day by those examiners who were prepared to work instead of the usual seven.

If DVSA are going to resume tests using the same procedure the waiting list will become unacceptably long, perhaps a year or more. DVSA rarely hit their waiting time performance target in normal times, so with the pent up demand there is no chance.

There is an opportunity to avoid this looming catastrophe and that is to follow a similar solution as has been found for teachers to be involved in providing the grades of their pupils work for GCSE and A level exams.

Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) are are standards checked by DVSA to enable them to be on the Register of ADIs. There is no good reason why they cannot assess their own pupils and grant a test pass when they consider that the prospective new driver has reached a standard where they are safe enough to drive on their own.

DVSA examiners are naturally concerned about becoming infected by meeting 35 different people a week within the confines of a car. ADIs will have been teaching their pupils and be aware of their circumstances and health situation, so the risk is lessened.

Using the professional abilities of ADIs in this way will allow more people to be assessed and issued with a full driving licence thereby reducing reducing the driving test waiting time.

Of course there will have to be checks and balances. ADIs would have to be periodically supervised by DVSA personnel, either in car, or by checking their pass rate, but these problems could easily be overcome with little imagination.

So many people are being held back from progressing their careers and other activities, that it would be monstrously unfair to extend that period of time any more than absolutely necessary.

ADIs must be allowed to assess and pass their own pupils.

c Reed    4 days ago

Covid is another name for stupid.
Stupid is everywhere, as this story demonstrates

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