Waiting times continue to rise

Source: Intelligent Instructor

Waiting times continue to rise

Driving test waiting times are still on the increase according to new data

According to the latest research, driving test waiting times continue to rise.

A Freedom of Information request by AA Driving School reveals the disappointing facts.

All this comes on the back of ongoing efforts by the DVSA to reduce the post-Covid issues.

Next please

The AA Driving School says measures to tackle driving test waiting times are failing.

New data reveals they are increasing every month.

Freedom of information data from the DVSA, accessed by the AA Driving School, shows the average waiting time for a driving test at the start of February was 14.8 weeks.

This means times have risen incrementally in each interim month since to 17.8 weeks at the start of May – an increase of 20%.

The data also shows a 33% rise in the number of test centres with average waiting times of more than five months, rising from 94 at the start of February to 125 at the beginning of May.



On the up

Overall, at the start of May, most test centres (93%) had average waiting times in excess of the pre-pandemic average of six weeks.

Half (51%) of test centres have seen average waiting times increase this year; only a fifth (20%) have seen an improvement.

Reducing the driving test backlog and improving waiting times for learners has been a a key priority for DVSA policy.

This is also a high priority in The AA’s Motoring Manifesto, which outlines vital transport priorities to all political parties ahead of the general election in July.

 Tired of waiting

“Enough is enough,” states Camilla Benitz, Managing Director of AA Driving School. The additional test slots the DVSA added to the system between October and March have made no difference to the average waiting time learners up and down the country are facing.

“In fact, learners faced longer average waiting times in May than they did in February.

“More has to be done to address this issue. Being able to drive is not a luxury – for many people it is an absolute necessity to get them to work, education and employment.

“We need to see a renewed commitment from the DVSA to make additional driving test slots available, but also to recruiting and retaining more examiners so additional learner test slots do not come at the expense of other vital DVSA services, such as driving instructor training exams, which we have seen falling availability of recently.”In February,

Confused messages

At the end of February, DVSA CEO Loveday Ryder was confident that the picture was improving.

DVSA managers and admin workers with a driving test warrant card had been transferred to driving examiner work.

Since October 2023, DVSA provided 100,436 extra car driving tests, though its target was 150,000 extra tests by the end of March 2024.

In December alone, 152,474 were carried out – a 24.2% increase compared to December 2022.

This chart shows how October, November and December 2022 and 2023 compared.

Chart showing number of driving tests carried out. 146,399 in October 2022 and 169,906 in October 2023, 163,143 in November 2022 and 196,481 in November 2023, and 115,641 in December 2022 and 152,474 in December 2023.


Ryder stated that “the work we’ve been doing has helped bring the average waiting time for a driving test down from 20.6 weeks at their peak in August 2023, to 15.1 weeks at the end of January 2024. ”

DVSA’s official chart shows the drop over time. T

Chart showing the driving test waiting times at 29 January 2024. Nationally it was 15.1 weeks. Zone A was 9.9 weeks, Zone B was 12.3 weeks, Zone C was 17.6 weeks and Zone D was 21.4 weeks.


Ryder stated in February that “the number of test centres with waits of 24 weeks has also fallen from 148 in October 2023 to 67 in January 2024”.

However, Ryder added that “driving test waiting times are still longer in highly populated areas and in the south”.



AA’s regional analysis

71 test centres had average waits of 24 weeks (the maximum the system will allow to be recorded) on both February 5th and May 6th:

Ashford (Kent) Isleworth (Fleming Way)
Aylesbury Lochgilphead
Ballater Loughborough
Banbury Loughton (London)
Barking (Tanner Street) Mill Hill (London)
Basildon Morden (London)
Belvedere (London) Northampton
Bishops Stortford Nottingham (Colwick)
Bletchley Nuneaton
Bristol (Avonmouth) Oban
Bristol (Kingswood) Orkney
Bromley (London) Oxford (Cowley)
Buckie Penzance
Chelmsford (Hanbury Road) Pinner (London)
Cheltenham Reading
Chertsey (London) Redhill Aerodrome
Chingford (London) Rugby
Chippenham Slough (London)
Clacton-on-Sea Southall (London)
Coventry Southampton (Maybush)
Culham LGV Southend-on-Sea
Dunoon Stevenage
Eastbourne Swindon
Enfield (Brancroft Way) Swindon LGV
Farnborough Taunton
Folkestone Tilbury
Gillingham Tolworth (London)
Gloucester Tunbridge Wells
Goodmayes (London) Uxbridge (London)
Greenford (Horsenden Lane) Wanstead (London)
Guildford Warwick (Wedgenock House)
Hastings (Ore) Watford
Hendon (London) West Wickham (London)
Hinckley Winchester
Islay Island Wood Green (London)
Yeading (London)

Test centres that increased their average waiting time between February and May to 24 weeks include Barnet (London), Basingstoke, Dorchester, Greenham, Hornchurch (London), Inveraray, Ipswich, Kettering, Maidstone, Newport (Isle of Wight), Nottingham (Chilwell), Plymouth, and Whitby.

Freedom of testing

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 request was received on 21 May 2024; it was requested on behalf of AA Driving School.

Car waiting times as at 05/02/2024 Car waiting times as at 04/03/2024 Car waiting times as at 01/04/2024 Car waiting times as at 06/05/2024
Average wait (weeks)           14.8            15.7           16.8         17.8

The average waiting time for a driving test before 2020 was just six weeks, from booking online to taking the test.

2024-07-03T19:53:08+00:003 July 2024|
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