Government fails to manoeuvre on driving test theory decision

Driving test suspensions and months on waiting lists. Learner drivers are furious over the government’s decision to not extend theory test deadline which could see them out of pocket.
Photo by Lukas Skoe on Unsplash

An online petition was created to allow time for learners who currently hold a valid theory test an extension so they can attempt their practical test after lockdown restrictions are eased and the waiting lists reduced. That has been rejected by the Government meaning thousands could lose money on retaking theory tests and extra driving lessons.

Learner driver, Rhiannon Clough from Hardwicke, passed her theory test in April 2019. A driving test was booked a few months later for December that year which she later cancelled due to family circumstances. Her next two practical tests were subsequently cancelled due to coronavirus lockdowns in late March and November. After months on a waiting list, she is due to sit her driving test in March a few days before her theory test runs out.

Rhiannon Clough celebrates theory test pass

Rhiannon wasn’t impressed with the government’s decision. She said: “It’s a lot of stress to pass this test (in March) as if I fail I’ll have to re-take both the theory test and the practical. They’ve extended a lot of other things for people like MOT tests and driving licences, so it doesn’t really seem that fair.”  

After writing to her local MP, Siobhan Baillie, she received this response.

“I am sorry to hear that you have not been able to take your theory test at due to the current lockdown. It is currently understood that the theory test certificate cannot currently be extended. As matters stand, if it expires, you will need to book and pay to sit another theory test, which you will need to pass before booking a driving test. The reason for this is that your road safety knowledge and hazard perception skills have to be up to date when you restart driving lessons and when you take your practical test. I am sorry that this will not be the response that you had hoped for and I understand and appreciate your frustration in relation to your current test expiring.”

Office of Siobhan Baillie MP

Many new drivers on social media said that they had been caught out and have expressed their frustration over the outcome.

The official response from the government on the petition said: “Government fully appreciates some of these learners would have been able to take the practical if routine testing had not been suspended and that they will be disappointed to have to retake their theory test again.”

DVSA contacted learners who had booked a practical test from March 2 July, gave them a full refund and were given priority to reschedule ahead of the booking system reopening to the public.

We asked whether you’d been affected by theory and practical driving test cancellations. Click on the poll to find out!

(Featured image by Zhen Hu on Unsplash)

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