How to get your key worker driving test during COVID-19, but before then we will give some background about the whole thing.
Since the 23rd March 2020, the UK has been in a COVID-19 Pandemic like the rest of the world and from 20th March all the driving test centres in the UK stopped conducting driving tests. When this happened nearly all the driving instructors across the country had to stop working, with many having lessons cancelled by their pupils. The DVSA also closed all the theory test centres across the country which are conducted by Pearson Professional. No exact date has been set as to when theory tests or driving tests will resume properly. On the GOV.UK website it says that’s theory test centres are closed until May 9th when they intend to reassess the situation.
Many learner drivers that had a driving test booked between March and May will be getting reassigned driving test dates from around 18th June, 12 weeks after the initial closure. Some Candidates that had their driving test date booked between March and May are in the unfortunate dilemma that their theory test certificate is due to expire. The DVSA have said that theory test certificates cannot be extended and all those affected will need to take another theory test.
The theory test certificate lasts 2 years from the date it was passed, and 2 years is usually enough time to pass a driving test.
Emergency Theory Tests
If you are a key worker with the following criteria
Health and Social Care
Education and Childcare
Key Public Services
Local and National Government
Food and other Necessary Goods
Public Safety and National Security
Utilities, Communication and Financial Services
You can book an emergency theory test at https://www.gov.uk/apply-emergency-theory-test the only problem is theory test centres are not local to everyone.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started and the DVSA decided to close test centres for everyone except key workers, they decided that the only place a key worker can take an emergency theory test would be London, Birmingham or Glasgow.
Government guidelines say you should only be travelling if you are a key worker or it is essential for you to do so. If you must travel, always practice social distancing.
Key Worker Driving Tests
If you are lucky enough to have already passed your theory test, you can book an emergency driving test at https://www.gov.uk/apply-emergency-driving-test .
For your practical driving test, you can use any driving test centre but there are only a handful of examiners conducting driving tests.
On the day of your test, your driving instructor should be able to disinfect the car before the lesson and again before the test. They should also be able to provide hand sanitizer and gloves before you enter the car. It is likely that you will be the only candidate taking a test at that time and the examiner will give you a pen to sign your name. do not be alarmed when they take extra measures to conduct your test, so the examiner may wipe the pen before and after you have used it.
The examiner will be wearing gloves and a face mask to conduct your driving test.
The North of England
The North of England has been put into a dilemma when it comes to emergency theory tests for key workers, with the closest place being either Birmingham or Glasgow.
How many key workers are willing to make the journey? from Liverpool the nearest theory test centre is now Birmingham? And how would you get there?
By car, it is 99 miles to the Pearson Professional test centre located at B4 7NJ and would take 1 hour 55 minutes according to google maps. By train from Liverpool Lime Street to Birmingham New Street would take 1 hour 41 minutes and then a 10-minute walk to the Pearson Professional Theory Test Centre.
How Much would it cost
It would be a long day to travel to Birmingham and back either by car or train with a theory test in the middle. But how much would it cost a key worker to take an emergency theory test.
By car, the fuel cost would be upwards of £25 plus any parking charges, a quick search on google revealed an NCP car park close to the theory test centre that from 21st April has free parking for NHS and volunteers or £5 for 12 hours.
Travelling by train, at time of writing 30th March 2020 and using trainline.com for pricing estimates with an open return ticket for Monday 4th May would cost £64.25.
The theory test is £23, by car the total would cost be around £53. If you must use a train to get to your theory test, it would be around £87.25, we have not factored in any public transport getting to or from a train station for this this estimate.
How Many Theory Test Centres?
There are around 80 theory test centres across the UK operated by Pearson Professional, yet the government has only allowed 4 to be used for an emergency theory test centre.
Surely the government could and should open more centres for key workers to take a theory test. We could do with some more places to deal with key worker theory test in easier to get to locations. How can we get the government to act on opening more theory test centres, do we tell our local council? speak to our local parliament constituency? The latest government advice is that even though you need a theory certificate to progress to the driving test, you are unable to travel to Birmingham to take a key worker theory test as it is not classed as essential travel.
Driving Lessons for Key Workers
It may have been several weeks now since your last driving lesson and it is encouraged that you get started with your driving lessons again as soon as possible if you are intending to book a key worker driving test. Some key workers are making the decision to take a driving test even when they are not ready in the hope of passing. They ask their driving instructor if they are available and when their instructor says they are not available they simple phone around until they find an instructor. The biggest problem is that the tests are at short notice and you may only manage a few hours to prepare you for a test when in fact you are not ready for your key worker driving test.
After going through all the trouble of getting an emergency driving test, you want to be sure that you are driving test ready. Just because the roads are much quieter than usual, there is no guarantee you will pass with just a few hours of lessons. Will you be able to get another emergency driving test again and if you can, how long will you go without a driving lesson again.
Before you book your emergency driving test, be sure you have a driving instructor available or already taking lessons.
automaticdrivinglessonsliverpool.com have had some students that are critical workers apply for emergency driving tests and have not heard back from the DVSA to conduct a driving test.
Surely the DVSA must open other theory test centres to help critical workers get a theory test without having to travel an awfully long way to take the test.
Booking your key worker driving lessons with us could not be easier – simply visit https://autoonly.co.uk and fill out the form or phone us on 01513740098. if you show your ID badge you will get 10% off your pay as you go driving lessons.