Driving tests in England to resume this week - here’s when

Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 8:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 8:35 am
Driving tests in England were suspended in March when the country entered into lockdown, in a bid to help stop the spread of coronavirus (Photo: Shutterstock)

Driving tests in England were suspended in March when the country entered into lockdown, in a bid to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

But those eager to get on the road won’t have to wait much longer, as driving tests are soon set to resume.

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When will practical driving tests resume?

The practical part of the driving test stopped running on 20 March, with theory tests being suspended a day earlier, on 19 March.

Theory tests resumed for learner drivers on 4 July. Driving lessons in England also resumed on 4 July, to give learners the chance to practice before driving tests restart, with driving tests to resume from Wednesday 22 July.

Learners whose tests were cancelled due to the pandemic are being invited to rebook a test first.

Once this has been completed and critical workers have also taken their test, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will open the booking service to the general public.

Can I book a driving test?

If you did not have a test booked before lockdown, you cannot currently book a new driving test.

However, if you did have a test booked before lockdown, but it was cancelled, then DVSA will email you again to ask you to go online and choose your preferred date and time for your test.

If you live in England, these emails will start to be sent:

  • from 16 July 2020
  • in batches, in order of when tests should have originally taken place

However, it might take several weeks for you to get your email, depending on when your test was originally scheduled.

DVSA is urging learners to speak to their instructor before booking their driving test, in order to make sure that they are still well prepared and up to test standard.

Safety measures have also been put into place in order to protect learners and examiners from Covid-19. DVSA has published information on gov.uk so that candidates know what to expect when they arrive for their test.

Be ready for your test

DVSA Chief driving Examiner Mark Winn said, “I know many learners are keen to take their driving test but it is vital they have the right skills and knowledge to help them through a lifetime of safe driving before attempting it.

“Anyone who is rebooking or taking a test should make sure they’ve had enough practice with a professional driving instructor and are ready.

“Learners should practice driving on a variety of roads and in different driving conditions so they are well prepared for driving independently.”

Ian McIntosh, CEO of RED Driving School, says, “We welcome and wholeheartedly support the Government’s decision to restart driving tests in England from July 22nd.

“The number of new learners visiting our website is currently at an all-time high and is double what we would normally expect at this time of the year. Nearly 2,000 people in the UK turn 17 each day, making them eligible to drive. Pre-lockdown, 4,000 driving tests were held per day."

DVSA has 210,000 cancelled booked tests from the suspension of driving tests on 20 March, which it now needs to carry out.

8,500 candidates a day are being invited to reschedule their tests.

The phased restart to testing:

  • 4 July – driving and riding lessons and Compulsory Basic Training to restart (England only)
  • 4 July – theory test restarts for all candidates – including Approved Driving Instructor part 1 tests (England only)
  • 6 July – expanding critical worker driving tests to more applicants (Great Britain)
  • 6 July – trainer booker service for practical driving tests reopens to motorcycle trainers and vocational instructors (trainers will only be able to book tests at tests centres in England)
  • 13 July – motorcycle and vocational tests start (England only)
  • 22 July – Driving tests resume for candidates whose tests were put on hold