Fraserburgh learners face long wait to sit driving test

More than 100 driving tests were cancelled in Fraserburgh last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 6:05 am
The pandemic has disrupted driving lessons and driving tests.

Ahead of tests starting up again, the AA said the disruption may have impacted learner drivers' confidence and compounded a difficult time for many young people.

Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency show 118 driving tests were cancelled at Fraserburgh Test Centre because of the pandemic between March and December.

A further 12 tests were cancelled – all of them because the examiner took annual or special leave.

Across Britain, 458,000 tests could not take place because of the pandemic in 2020, though the DVSA said there are currently 420,000 booked for when testing centres reopen.

Lessons are set to recommence from Monday, April 26, with tests to follow from May 6 – and the AA is expecting huge demand.

Robert Cowell, interim managing director of AA Driving School, said: "Many pupils will have either had a big break in lessons, which may impact their confidence, or have had to postpone driving lessons for many months.

"For young people, who have already suffered disruption to their education, not being able to learn to drive will compound an already stilted start to adult life."

He added that extending the validity period of theory test certificates – as has been the case for MOTs and driving licences – or offering a free re-sit, could help reduce demand, or at least lessen the financial impact.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC Foundation, also urged the DVSA to consider a short extension for those whose theory test has either expired, or is about to, but the UK Government has already said it will not do so.

A DVSA spokesman said: “Ensuring new drivers have current, relevant knowledge and skills to identify developing hazards is a vital part of the training for young and new drivers, who are disproportionality represented in casualty statistics."

While more than 100 tests were cancelled in Fraserburgh, 114 did take place between April and December.

Of these, 94 were successful, giving drivers at Fraserburgh Test Centre a pass rate of 82 per cent – well above the average across Britain of 50 per cent.