National Associations Strategic Partnership

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By NASP, Jul 23 2020 03:00PM

NASP is extremely disappointed and concerned by the announcement today that theory test certificates cannot be extended.

News on the GOV.UK website is showing that the government has made a decision not to extend the theory test certificate beyond 2 years.

Whilst we respect that the regulatory challenges inherent in extending the life of theory test certificates have not made this possible, and also respect the potential safety implications of a candidate having too long a time lapse between their last theory test, we are still deeply frustrated and concerned that it has not been possible to extend theory test certificates. Especially as ministers in Northern Ireland have considered it the correct thing to do for their new drivers and have issued an extension for eight months. Thousands of learner drivers are not being treated fairly especially as extensions were granted for photo card driving licence renewals and MOTs during lockdown.

NASP have, on numerous occasions, asked DVSA to consider if it would be possible to offer those who have imminently expiring certificates a free re-test and expedite them through the booking system, once it is fully operational again, so they can access a test before their practical test - if an extension to the certificate were not possible.

As critical workers have been able to access special provision to enable them to take a theory test in a timely manner, NASP have also asked whether it would not be fair to allow those pupils affected the same opportunity - even if meant them travelling to more distant centres (as critical workers have) to facilitate their theory test.

We also proposed pupils with specific educational needs should be given consideration for a retest as soon as possible, at no extra cost.

Sadly, our proposals were rejected. We recognise that DVSA did put our concerns forward to Ministers to consider an extension, however, for the reasons given, this was not possible.

NASP shares the frustration and concern that trainers, pupils and other industry bodies have expressed to us, not only the disappointment that certificates cannot be extended but also the exceptional time it has taken to reach this decision.

By NASP, Jul 16 2020 09:46AM

DVSA has announced that examiners will not conduct driving tests in vehicles that have a screen fitted between the driver and front passenger.

The reasons for this are that screens:

Can restrict the candidates vision of the the road

May prevent a quick exit from the vehicle in an emergency

Prevent an instructor or examiner taking action in the event of an emergency, for example by using the steering wheel

May cause injury in a crash if the air bags or other restraint systems are deployed

Screens between the driver and front passenger in vehicles provide limited benefits in protecting people from coronavirus. Key guidance from Public Health England (PHE) is that frequent handwashing with soap and water (or the use of suitable alcohol gels), coupled with an appropriate vehicle cleaning regime are the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings must be worn during driving tests, unless an individual is exempt and has notified DVSA of a medical reason for not wearing one.

This directive does not apply to buses and other similar vehicles where screens are routinely fitted as part of normal operations. These vehicles are subject to routine testing to ensure they are safe. For other vehicles including cars, where after-market screens are fitted, an IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval) test certificate will be required to show that the vehicle is safe.

If a vehicle (other than a bus) is presented for a driving test with a screen fitted between the driver and front passenger, examiners should allow a reasonable period time for the candidate or accompanying driver to remove the screen, especially if it is a temporary screen. If the screen cannot be readily removed the test must not go ahead and should be shown as test terminated, vehicle not suitable for test.