Learner drivers could face waiting times for a driving test of more than 20 weeks, driving instructors will warn Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
And instructors want changes to the driving test proposed for next year to be postponed until waiting times have come down from 18-20 weeks in many parts of the country.
Bodies representing more than 20,000 driving instructors nationwide fear a “nightmare scenario” of people rushing to take the test before the new changes come into force.
Lynne Barrie, chair of the Approved Driving Instructors National Joint Council, said:”We fear a huge surge in people wanting to take the old test and this would send waiting times sky high.
Driving instructor puts learner through her paces
“It seems to us we are doing this the wrong way round and it would be better to get waiting times down before the changes take place.
“It is no use improving the test if candidates have to wait 17 weeks to take it.” She said in her area, Lichfield in Staffordshire, learners are being told the next available test date is in January or February next year.
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They want the changes delayed until waiting times for car practical tests are below 7.4 weeks – the target figure set by the driver and vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and falling to six weeks for next year.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Any plans for changes to the driving test will take account of the impact it is likely to have on waiting times.”
Under the changes new manoeuvres will be added to the test to prepare drivers for ‘real-life’ scenarios to reduce road accidents.
Drivers will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav during the ‘independent driving’ part which will be increased from 10 to 20 minutes.
The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres will be replaced with more real-life situations, such as driving into and reversing out of a parking bay.
And one of the two vehicle safety questions (known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions) will be asked while the candidate is driving, such as asking them to use the rear heated screen
DVSA Director of Corporate Affairs, Adrian Long, said: “There is no evidence to suggest that the proposed changes to the driving test will increase waiting times and instructors have been very supportive.
“Over the past three years demand has increased by over 200,000 tests and we’re working hard to make more available. We’ve recruited 156 new driving examiners, and are recruiting more, we are also looking to make more tests available during evenings and weekends.”