On 23 June, the Prime Minister set out further changes to lockdown measures in England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs. At every stage, caution will remain our watchword – and it’s vital that everyone continues to stay alert, in order to control the virus and save lives.
Driving lessons and tests
I am pleased to tell you that the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) announced on 25 June plans to restart driver services – that is driving and riding lessons and theory and practical driving tests for all categories of vehicle. Please find details of the announcement here.
From 4 July, people will be able to take motorcycle compulsory basic training, motorcycle lessons or driving lessons in a car, lorry or bus.
Theory tests will also be available from 4 July. Practical riding and driving tests for motorcyclists and lorry and bus drivers will be available from 13 July, and car practical driving tests from 22 July. The DVSA is introducing a phased approach to resuming practical testing so learners have the opportunity to practise before taking a test.
From 22 July, the DVSA will start testing candidates whose practical tests were postponed when tests were suspended in March. The DVSA will contact these candidates and invite them to choose their preferred location, date and time. New candidates will be able to book practical driving tests once everyone with a suspended practical test has had the opportunity to choose a new time and date.
The DVSA Chief Executive is keeping driver and rider trainers and the associations that represent them informed about what the DVSA is doing to prepare to return to testing. A DVSA Direct message to driver and rider trainers will confirm the dates from when lessons and tests can restart.
Driving instructors are responsible for ensuring their services remain safe. Guidance on how they can carry out risk assessments can be found on the Health and Safety Executive’s website. The DVSA will release an updated version of its standard operating procedure for driving examiners, which driving instructors might wish to refer to when developing their own health and safety procedures. The DVSA will be sending this directly to driving instructors and it will be hosted on the National Associations Strategic Partnership website.
Additionally, as announced today, from 1 August we will be reinstating mandatory light vehicle MOT testing. At the start of the Covid-19 outbreak we introduced legislation which exempted vehicles from needing an MOT for 6 months. Now that the lockdown measures are being eased, we feel it is time to bring these exemptions to an end. Road safety is key and as more vehicles return to regular use, we need to ensure that they are safe on our roads. While many garages have stayed open during this period, this decision will allow them to return to business as usual and for staff to return to work.
We will stop issuing extensions to MOTs from 31 July. This means that car, motorcycle and van owners with an MOT due from 1 August will once again need get a test certificate to continue driving. This will not effect those who have already been granted an additional 6 months, they can continue to use the extended MOT date.
In announcing this well in advance we are ensuring that drivers have sufficient notice to organise an MOT test, and testing stations can prepare for an increase in business. Alongside this we will also be encouraging those who have benefited from the extension to consider taking their vehicles in for a test before the extended expiry date.
The DVSA’s priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the safety of its staff and the wider public. That remains its priority as it restarts its services.
Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Minister for Roads, Buses and Places