Test centres are experiencing “extremely high demand” for bookings due to a backlog of learners who haven’t been able to get a slot following the coronavirus crisis
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Learner drivers have been warned that practical driving tests are almost all booked up for this year.
Test centres are experiencing “extremely high demand” for bookings due to a backlog of learners who haven’t been able to get a slot following the coronavirus crisis.
Driving tests had to be suspended in January this year because of the third lockdown and didn’t restart until April at the earliest.
But the number of people still trying to book a practical test remains high, and the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) today confirmed the majority of test centres are fully booked up until early December.
This means it is likely some areas could run out of 2021 slots altogether over the next few days or weeks.
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When The Mirror contacted the DVSA today, a spokesperson said there were still tests available to book in 2021 but they couldn’t say how many.
The DVSA releases practical test slots 24 weeks in advance, which means it is currently booking up until January 2022.
One parent emailed Mirror Money and said: “My son has just passed the theory test and we can’t find any slots for him to sit his driving test for the next year.
“This is awful and something needs to be done. He needs his test so he can train as a paramedic. Driving is critical to this sort of job.”
Bookings for the theory test are also released six months in advance, with reports on social media suggesting these are also hard to come by right now due to the backlog.
DVSA chief executive Loveday Ryder, said: “We are doing all we can to provide as many tests as possible so we can get our services back to normal.
“I know learners will be keen to take their test now, but it is important that candidates are properly prepared and don’t rush to take it.
“With more than half of candidates failing, and demand currently extremely high for tests, learners should only take their test only when they are confident they can pass.
“This will help them to avoid a lengthy wait for a retest and help us by not adding to the backlog of tests.”
How to find cancelled tests
Learner drivers who are struggling to get a test have been sharing tips online to help others find cancelled slots.
This trick involves booking a test slot that may be far away from your closest test centre.
Once you have a booking, you then regularly check online or through an app for cancelled slots at the test centre you actually want to go to.
Keep in mind you’ll often need to be quick to nab a cancelled slot, as there is such a high demand.
You should also remember that you’re technically taking up a test slot from someone who may be local to that test centre, and is also wanting to book a test.
To find cancelled slots, you can use the official Gov.uk website – search for your original appointment by entering your provisional driving licence number and test reference number.
Other people have also recommended apps such as Testi, which will bring up cancelled slots near you.
Searching manually for cancelled tests is free to do, or you can pay £10 for a premium version of the app that notifies you when a slot becomes available.
TV legend Davina McCall took to Twitter yesterday to ask for advice after struggling to book a practical test for her daughter.
Following recommendations from her followers, she ended up booking a test “hundreds of miles” away in the hopes of being able to find a cancelled slot closer to her.
Davina didn’t say if she’ll use an app or particular website to keep tabs on cancelled tests.
Her original tweet said: “Anyone help me with driving tests advice? Just trying to book any date. Getting timed out.
“Was on hold on phone for 45 mins then got cut off in a tunnel. “Currently trying Christmas 2022 and there is nothing. Her theory will have run out? Help! Anyone?”
In a follow up post, she said: “I just want to say, it’s at times like this that I love Twitter.
“I have booked a driving test hundreds of miles away but am hoping for a cancellation closer.
“If it wasn’t for you lot I would still be searching the [DVSA] site (hours and hours) thank u so much.”