Start early to beat the driving test phone queue

Anyone wanting to take a driving test should consider setting the alarm to remind them to make a phone call at 8am on Tuesday. 

Four days ago, more than 215,000 learners were left hanging on the line, waiting to see if they would be among the lucky ones to get one of 35,000 driving test slots available. 

All those slots were snapped up before the website, run by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, closed for ‘urgent maintenance’. It is due to reopen on Tuesday, but the agency did not say how many tests would be available. 

Pass master: The practical element of the driving test can usually be booked up to six weeks ahead, but the agency is struggling to meet demand

Pass master: The practical element of the driving test can usually be booked up to six weeks ahead, but the agency is struggling to meet demand

Pass master: The practical element of the driving test can usually be booked up to six weeks ahead, but the agency is struggling to meet demand 

In normal times, about 4,000 learners a day take the practical element of the driving test, but exams were suspended for four months during the coronavirus crisis. They were only made available again in England on July 22. 

The practical element of the driving test can usually be booked up to six weeks ahead, but the agency is struggling to meet demand. Before booking the test, learner drivers must have passed the theory exam at a local test centre, which costs £23. The practical test costs £62 on weekdays before 4.30pm, or £75 after that or on weekends and bank holidays. 

The DVSA website states: ‘Availability is severely limited as a result of measures to protect customers and staff from Covid-19. Levels of demand for tests are exceptionally high. Please be patient as it may take time to book and take a test. When we reopen the booking service on Tuesday September 1 at 8am more tests will have been added to the system.’ 

Those taking the test must wear a mask or risk an automatic failure.

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