Horsforth driving tests: Figures reveal thousands of tests at Leeds centre cancelled due to Covid

Thousands of driving tests were cancelled at the Horsforth test centre in Leeds last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, figures reveal.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 12:11 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 12:14 pm
photo: PA/ PA Wire

Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency show 2,805 driving tests were cancelled at Horsforth test centre in Leeds between March and December, 2020.

A further 63 tests were cancelled for other reasons – including seven for medical absences and 28 because the examiner took annual or special leave.

Adverse weather conditions and bad light also forced the cancellation of 28 tests last year.

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Between April and the end of December, 2,007 tests were able to take place in Horsforth - with 922 successful tests and a pass rate of 46 per cent.

This is below Britain's 50 per cent pass rate average.

Across Great Britain, 458,000 tests could not take place in 2020 because of the pandemic, but driving lessons have now recommenced in England and Wales and tests are set to follow from April 22.

The DVSA said there are currently 420,000 booked for when testing centres reopen.

DVLA figures from March show just 2.97 million people in Britain aged 16-25 hold a full licence – the smallest number since records began in November 2012.

The AA is expecting huge demand when test centres reopen, but said the disruption may have impacted learner drivers' confidence and compounded a difficult time for many young people.

Robert Cowell, interim managing director of AA Driving School, said: "Many pupils will have either had a big break in lessons, which may impact their confidence, or have had to postpone driving lessons for many, many months.

"For young people, who have already suffered disruption to their education, not being able to learn to drive will compound an already stilted start to adult life."

He added that extending the validity period of theory test certificates – as has been the case for MOTs and driving licences – or offering a free re-sit, could help reduce demand, or at least lessen the financial impact.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC Foundation, said: “Learner drivers will breathe a sigh of relief that driving lessons and tests are restarting, however the backlog for those waiting for both practical and theory tests is likely to be huge."

He also urged the DVSA to consider a short extension for those whose theory test has either expired, or is about to, but the Government has already said it will not do so.

A DVSA spokesman added: “Ensuring new drivers have current, relevant knowledge and skills to identify developing hazards is a vital part of the training for young and new drivers, who are disproportionality represented in casualty statistics."

The 10 most common reason why candidates fail their driving test, according to the DVSA:

1.Not making effective observations at junctions.

2. Not using mirrors correctly when changing lanes or direction.

3. Not showing control of the steering wheel.

4. Incorrect observations or positioning when turning right at junctions.

5. Failing to move off safely.

6. Not responding appropriately to signs or traffic lights.

7. Poor positioning on the road during normal driving.

8. Failing to respond to road markings and traffic signs.

9. Not having control of the vehicle when moving off.

10. Not keeping control of the vehicle during reverse parking.