Could You Help to Ease the Driving Test Backlog?
Adults with full driving licenses are being urged to train as approved driving instructors (ADIs) to help clear a backlog of around 420,000 tests. The RAC is reporting that the mammoth waiting list has grown over the past year as the number of people taking their test fell by 73%, largely due to pandemic-related cancellations.
ADI numbers are falling too, with a thousand fewer instructors in March 2021 (38,000) compared to March 2020.
According to a letter penned by Loveday Ryder, Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in March this year, the average waiting time for a test is 17 weeks.
The recent call for instructors suggests that the situation has worsened.
Peter Brabin, Head of Training at Bill Plant Driving School said: “After the past 18 months the driving school industry has faced, we’re going to effectively be playing catch-up for a long time.”
Mr Brabin explained that the overall ratio of drivers to instructors “has changed dramatically” and the imbalance could be here to stay, well into 2022. He added: “We’re calling on adults all over the UK who might be out of work or considering a career change to really think hard about becoming a driving instructor.”
Pass rates in theory tests have increased by 8.6% in a year, further proof that demand for practical tests may be growing. Meanwhile, 51% of learners are passing their practical test first time. Those lucky enough to book a test appear to be making the most of the opportunity.
It’s not only driving tests that have been affected but lessons too. Back in July, a survey from Young Driver found that 81% of instructors are reporting waiting lists for lessons.2
One in four (26%) ADIs surveyed said their waiting lists stretch to more than three months, while 6% claimed that learners would have to wait more than six months for a slot.
With lessons so hard to come by, full licence holders might want to consider teaching a learner driver themselves.
Learner drivers now face the increased risk that they’ll have to retake a theory test if their certificates expire before the date of a practical test. The prospect has triggered as-yet unsuccessful petitions to the government to extend theory test certificates.