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Publishing driving test data and the how far in advance you can book a test

From 9 November we will start to publish additional driving test data to update on the effectiveness of our measures to reduce car driving test waiting times.

As a result, we plan to send you monthly updates on the effectiveness of our measures to reduce car driving test waiting times.

DfT will publish national monthly car test driving data until driving test waiting times return to less than 6 weeks. This data will include:

  • number of driving tests carried out

  • number of car driving test passes

  • percentage of passes

  • number of car driving tests booked

The first data we’ll publish will cover April to October 2022. Then from the second week in December, this data will be published on a monthly basis.

Changes to the booking window

The current national average car driving test waiting time is 15.0 weeks. This has increased slightly because we needed to reschedule a significant number of driving tests on 19 September due to the funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

We know some of you are frustrated about not being able to book driving tests at test centres with waiting times of 24 weeks. You have told us that you and your pupils are having to regularly check the booking service for tests, and you would like us to open the booking window beyond 24 weeks.

We have explored this option and we want to explain why we will not be opening tests beyond 24 weeks.

Our data shows that nationally there are many more available tests in the booking service and around a third of driving test centres now have waiting times of 9 weeks or less.

The number of driving test centres with a waiting time of 24 weeks has reduced from over 100 centres at its highest to 55. We are also continuing to do everything we can to make more tests available at test centres with a 24 week waiting time. This includes:

  • local test centre managers carrying out 2 days of testing each week

  • recruiting more driving examiners in these areas

  • deploying driving examiners to areas where the demand is highest

  • introducing a text messaging service to remind candidates about their test, which has reduced the number of candidates who fail to attend for their test by a third; we plan to promote these messages where we have the highest fail to attend rates

  • doing more to encourage your pupils in these areas to only take their tests when they are readyas part of the ‘Ready to Pass?’ campaign and at driving test centre open days – we’ll be blogging about the success of these in the coming weeks.

When we have reduced the number of driving test centres with waiting times of 24 weeks, we will gradually reduce the booking window and go back to an 18-week booking window. This is because:

  • planning resources 6 months or more in advance is challenging for any organisation - we want to make sure we have the driving examiners needed to carry out these tests and we build in a certain level of flexibility across the service so we can cover tests as and when required

  • when booking a test, most of your pupils want an appointment within the next 6 weeks. As waiting times reduce, it's unlikely they will want to book a test 24 weeks or more away

  • as waiting times reduce, we intend to change the focus of the ‘Ready to Pass?’ campaign to being ‘Ready for your Test?’ at the point that a learner driver books their test.

published dvsa 8.11.22


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