Relief as driving tests resume after four-month suspension

Learner drivers have expressed their relief after tests resumed in England following a four-month suspension.

Some 210,000 tests were cancelled and tens of thousands more were delayed because of the virus, according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said.

It said all available staff are being deployed to conduct tests in a bid to cope with the huge backlog.

Learners whose tests were cancelled are being invited to re-book first.

Coronavirus – Wed Jul 22, 2020
Teacher Kyle Duddridge after successfully completing his driving test in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Secondary school teacher Kyle Duddridge, from Liverpool, was due to take a test in early June and was among the first in the country to pass following the restart on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old told the PA news agency he felt “relieved”.

He said: “Where I live is quite far from where I work. I was getting a bus and it was taking well over an hour to get to work.

“I was planning on passing so that I can drive. It takes 20 minutes to get there in the car.

“With everything going on, it was making me a bit unsure whether I was going to pass by September, when I’m back at school. It was a bit daunting not knowing if I would have a test by then.”

A number of safety measures have been put in place to protect learners and examiners from Covid-19, such as mandatory face coverings unless there is a valid reason not to wear one.

Mr Duddridge, who began learning to drive in January, said wearing a face covering was “a bit of a pain but it’s understandable why you’ve got to do it”.

Coronavirus – Wed Jul 22, 2020
Jade Paxton, 30, a keyworker from Bedlington, Northumberland, holds up her pass certificate after successfully completing her driving test in Blyth (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Driving instructors reported a surge in demand when lessons were able to resume in England on July 4.

The DVSA urged candidates to ensure they have “had enough practice” before taking the test to ensure they are “well prepared for driving independently”.

Learners in other parts of the UK will have to wait a while longer before they can attempt to get a driving licence.

Tests will resume in Wales on August 17, while no date has been set in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

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