Theory Tests expiring during lockdown

Almost 50,000 learner drivers left £1.1m out-of-pocket due to driving test suspensions last year – and more are set to lose £320,000 in this lockdown

Tens of thousands of learners across the UK have been unable to take their driving tests due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic – and that means some £1.1million in passed theory tests has been lost, according to a study.  Provisional licence holders could be out-of-pocket as much as £2.3million from a combination of expired theory test certificates over the two national lockdowns last year and the cost to retake the £23 exam.
Another £320,000 of certificates are also set to run out during the current lockdown, it has been estimated.  The learners have lost out because the Government refuses to extend the date at which theory test passes expire, despite driving tests being suspended.

With the country back under lockdown restrictions, driving instructors and other industry insiders have yet again called on the Government to extend the certificates due to the suspension of both practical and theory tests after the Department for Transport refused the suggestion in November.  Data obtained via multiple Freedom of Information requests to the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency by car insurance provider Marmalade found that 49,543 theory test certificates expired during the the two national lockdowns in 2020, amounting to a loss of £1,139,489.

Assuming all learners pay to retake the test, a cost of £46 for two theory tests means this set of lockdown learners would have spent almost £2.3million on theory exams.  If just half retake the test, the cost is still eye watering at £1.7million.  May was said to be the biggest month for losses, with £296,102 in theory tests alone all lost due to certificates expiring.

While the second national lockdown in November cost learners £147,591 with 6,417 certificates expiring over the
one-month lockdown.  With test centres yet again closed and no extension to the expiration dates of certificates announced by the UK government, learners face more delays to getting their hands on a licence.
Over the 149 days of delays in 2020, an average of 332 tests expired each day.

Using this average figure, over the next six week lockdown – if it ends mid-February – it is estimated that 13,944 tests will expire, equating to an overall loss of £320,712 or £7,636 per
day for UK learner drivers.  Commenting on the data and what this means for learner drivers, boss of Marmalade, Crispin Moger said: ‘I don’t doubt that there will have been many learner drivers that would have planned to take their test during the time periods affected by the multiple UK lockdowns and will now have lost through no fault of their own.

‘Learners whose certificates have expired will need to take the test and pass it again before they can take their practical driving test adding yet more time to their wait, adding to the backlog we are already expected to see in 2021.  ‘For some this is just another roadblock to gaining freedom and will be a hindrance to many where a driving test pass was at the centre of their plans.’

The latest online petition is calling for a 12-month extension to theory test certificates While an extension would save learners from additional costs of resitting their tests, it would also ease the logjam of people desperate to sit their practical assessments once dates become available and also lessen the mounting pressure on theory test centres once they’re allowed to reopen.


Source: The Daily Mail

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