Over 1,000 driving tests fall victim to pandemic

More than 1,000 driving tests were cancelled in in Northumberland last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, new figures reveal.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 3:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 3:50 pm
Over 1,500 driving tests cancelled in Northumber;land
Over 1,500 driving tests cancelled in Northumber;land

Ahead of tests starting up again on April 22, the AA said the disruption may have impacted learner drivers' confidence.

Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) show 1,157 tests were cancelled at the Blyth Test Centre, 203 in Alnwick, and 155 in Berwick because of the pandemic between March and December.

In Blyth, 1,176 tests did take place between April and the end of December – with a pass rate of 66%, above the national average of 50%.

The figures show 260 tests took place in Alnwick with a pass rate of 70% and 205 in Berwick and a pass rate of 61%.

Nationally, 458,000 tests could not take place because of the pandemic and the DVSA say there are currently 420,000 booked for when testing centres reopen.

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

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC Foundation, said: “Learner drivers will breathe a sigh of relief that driving lessons and tests are restarting, however the backlog for those waiting for both practical and theory tests is likely to be huge."

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