To say 2020 has been a tough year is an understatement.
On the 23rd March 2020 all driver training and testing stopped as the country went into Lockdown.
There were no tests or driving lessons being conducted for 15 weeks as we were asked to stay at home.
This created a logistical nightmare and meant that some 400,000+ tests needed to be re-scheduled. But where were the DVSA? It was not until late June that we begin to hear information from the DVSA. Students and Instructors were growing anxious. There was no plan in place and no information had been forth coming for over 3 months.
A plan was set out. Clear the backlog and start working following Covid Guidelines and conducting less driving tests per examiner. The draw back was many students hadn't sat in a vehicle for over 3 months and were not prepared. Many tests went wasted in the system as there were no students at a level to take the practical driving test. The backlog was effectively cleared by around early September and the booking system opened up for those waiting for driving tests. The aim was to allow people to book tests on one particular day, but the system was overloaded by people using multiply devices to check for dates. Eventually the system was opened to everyone and things gradually returned to normal, although with a long wait for tests.
Then lockdown 2 came along and caused more problems for students, some of which had their tests cancelled in the summer were having tests cancelled in the Winter, this time though they were pushed even further until April/May 2021.
Tier 4 means that all driver training and testing cannot take place. My estimate is that there is around 100,000 people looking for earlier tests dates under the current restrictions.
But what does the future of driving and testing have in Enfield and the UK.
The DVSA seem to have stepped up and whilst there information is not very proactive they do react when needed.
Students are still the ones who are suffering the most. With covid restrictions on transport many want to learn how to drive. The prospects of finding work are greatly increased by having a driving licence, along with options of working longer distances.
The great news is Instructors are available for lessons across the country. Many students sadly have moved away from driver training as they were not able to complete their goals in the summer of 2020. Whilst there is a backlog of driving tests these can be managed and worked around. Its important that all students focus on their theory test immediately and also look to get that first time pass. I hope to see you in 2021.