Consultation results and changes to driving test booking and notice periods

Consultation results and changes to driving test booking and notice periods

Today (30 March 2023), we are announcing changes we are planning to make to the booking system in summer 2023.

These changes are aimed at encouraging learner drivers to only book and take their driving test when they are properly prepared.

The statistics from February 2023 show that around 53% of learner drivers are failing their car driving test and driving examiners are having to physically intervene in 1 in 8 tests for safety reasons. This suggests that more than half are not ready to take their test or drive safely and responsibly on their own.

These changes are intended to help improve pass rates, make more tests available for learners who are ready and help to reduce driving test waiting times.

They are part of a package of measures that were publicly consulted on in 2022. The changes include:

  • extending the period that those who fail their car test have to wait before booking another test from 10 to 28 clear working days. This will give learners the time to undertake additional learning, training and experience which will increase the likelihood of them passing their next test. We also foresee this having a positive impact on car test waiting times.

  • extending the notice period during which a cancelled car test will result in a lost fee, from 3 to 10 clear working days. We are extending the notice period to encourage learners who need more practice, to give DVSA more notice when cancelling. This will give better prepared learners more chance to take advantage of short-notice test appointments.

Why we are planning to make these changes

Many of you have told us that some learner drivers want to pass their driving test as quickly and cheaply as possible and that you’ve been unable to stop pupils booking a test before they are ready. We are planning to make these changes because we think they’ll:

  • encourage learner drivers to be better prepared for their driving test
  • help to reduce the number of driving test appointments that are wasted
  • make more tests available for your pupils who are properly prepared
  • make it easier for you to find tests that are cancelled at short notice for your pupils who are properly prepared
  • give your pupils who fail the time they need to properly prepare for their next test

What you and your pupils told us

Your pupils told us that:

  • 1 in 3 learners told us this would encourage them to only book their test when they are ready, even if waiting times remained the same as now.
  • 42.8% of learners said this measure would encourage them to only book their test when ready, even if waiting times were reduced. That's more than those who said it would not change their behaviour (42.2%).
  • 37.1% of driving instructors agreed with increasing the number of days your pupils will have to wait to rebook from 10 to 28.
  • 46.8% of driving instructors agreed with increasing the short notice cancellation period from 3 to 10 days.

You can read through the full results report on GOV.UK

When these changes are happening

We will need to work with Parliament to change the law to allow us to introduce these changes. We plan to introduce these in summer 2023.

We will provide you with regular updates on our progress and will contact you and your pupils when the date is confirmed.

How we plan to work with you

We also consulted on mandating the displaying of certificates when you take your pupils to test and providing consumer information to learner drivers. These measure will require changes to legislation in Parliament, the timetable to do this is still to be determined.

We know that some of you may be concerned about how some of these measures will affect you and the driving instructor industry.

In the coming days, we will publish a blog post to talk about how we plan to work with you and the driving instructors National Association of Strategic Partnership (NASP) to:

  • raise the recognition of the ADI certificate and the professionalism of qualified ADIs
  • understand and overcome the barriers to displaying ADI certificates
  • start to explore what consumer information that you would support being made available to help learner drivers and their family and friends to make informed choices

We will inform you when the blog post is published.

Other measures

The other measures that were consulted on were:

  • exploring changes to how we carry out the eyesight tests
  • mandating ADIs displaying their certificate on test
  • providing better information to learner drivers about driving instructors and their performance
  • explore creating digital pass certificates for practical and theory tests

You can read through the results of the consultation on all these initiatives in the results reports.

The other interventions will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

Ready to Pass? Campaign

In February 2023 over 1 in 5 learner drivers used the campaign to help them to prepare for their driving test and 94% of them found the content on the campaign website useful – which includes:

  • explaining the 27 skills on the driver's record and the 5 levels of progress you will make through each skill
  • debunking some of the most common driving test myths
  • explaining what we recommend should be in a mock driving test
  • providing practical tips on managing driving test nerves and giving more information about how and where to learn mindfulness techniques

If your pupils haven’t already used the campaign website to help them prepare,  encourage them to go and view it. It includes simple checks for them to do to see if they are ready for their test.

We know that 72.8% of ADIs we asked are already using the resource on the site to support their pupils and carry out checks to make sure they are ready to take their test and encourage those who are not, to delay.

Visit the ‘Ready to Pass?’ website.