What taking a driving test and lessons will be like when instructors are allowed to start working again

DRIVING instructors will get with gloves and masks when lessons and tests restart.

The government has issued new guidance ahead of test centres reopening in the coming weeks – but there is no confirmed date set yet.

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But updated government guidelines published this week suggest ways that instructors and examiners can keep themselves and their pupils safe once things do get up and running again.

The letter, written by Gareth Llewellyn, chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to driving instructors, said that civil servants are currently reviewing the guidance for driving examiners about carrying out tests.

This includes things like the personal protective equipment they need to wear, how they might greet candidates and how to properly clean equipment such as sat navs and tablets.

The letter said masks and gloves have been ordered for all driving examiners, but there has been a delay in obtaining them because of wider shortages.

The agency, which is in charge of carrying out driving tests and approving people to be driving instructors, also warned that social distancing measures might limit the number of tests it can carry out in the coming months.

Currently all driving tests have been put on hold – meaning driving instructors, who are not employed by the government, have also been unable to work.

The Driving Instructors Association currently recommends that instructors should only give training in a car to key workers preparing for an essential driving test, such as emergency workers.

Can I have a driving lesson at the moment?

The government and industry bodies have advised driving instructors to only offer lessons in person to people who urgently need them.

You cannot have a driving lesson if you are:

  • a learner or novice and not a key worker
  • if you are a key worker but do not have an essential need to drive at this time, for example you can use other modes of transport to commute and they are not required to drive for work

You can have a driving lesson if:

  • you have a practical emergency test confirmed with DVSA
  • you need a new licence for essential front line roles such as driving an emergency vehicle
  • you are a key worker whose driving risks have changed and you need to update your licence

The DVSA said that it will soon be inviting people in the backlog to choose a new date for their test, with those who have been waiting the longest allowed to go first.

“We are also planning how we can continue to help critical workers to get a test as a priority throughout this process,” it said.

It also acknowledged that some driving examiners are either vulnerable from coronavirus, or live with people who are, meaning they wouldn’t be able to work.

“We’ve been working with all our driving examiners to find out more about their situation so we know how many will be able to return to carrying out driving tests as soon as we’re able,” it said.

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