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The plan to rebuild:

The UK government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

On 11 May 2020, the government published its COVID-19 recovery strategy which:

  • sets out the progress the UK has made to date in tackling the coronavirus outbreak
  • explains the plans for moving to the next phase of the response to the virus

Our priority remains to protect the public and save lives. That’s why any easing of measures must meet the government’s 5 tests. These are:

  1. Protect the NHS’s ability to cope.
  2. A sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates from COVID-19.
  3. Reliable data showing that the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board.
  4. Be confident that the range of operational challenges, including testing capacity and PPE, are in hand, with supply able to meet future demand.
  5. Be confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelms the NHS.
Driving instruction and driving tests

Other than emergency training and tests for critical workers, driving instruction and driving tests have not yet been able to restart because the risk of transmission of the virus in vehicles is higher.

In his statement on 10 June, the Prime Minister reiterated that the government will remain cautious and measure the effect of the changes it makes. The Prime Minister explained this means moving slower than we’d have liked in some areas.

Driving instruction and tests will only restart when the government is confident that the assessment of risk warrants it, subject to the 5 tests and further detailed scientific advice.

In the meantime, I want to re-emphasise that you should continue to limit driving lessons to critical workers who are preparing for an emergency driving test.

Once again, I would like to thank those of you who have been able to offer driving lessons to critical workers during these unprecedented times.

We will, of course, share more information with you as soon as it’s available – including the dates that driving instruction and driving tests can restart.

Planning to restart our services

Teams across DVSA have been working extremely hard over the past few months to make sure we’re in the best possible position to restart our services as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Our priority is to make sure that you, your pupils and our staff stay safe.

The work is split into these main areas:

  • preparing guidance for driving examiners on carrying out driving tests
  • making sure our driving test centres are ready to reopen
  • making sure we have PPE in place
  • understanding which driving examiners might not be able to return to testing straight away
  • planning driving test schedules so that anyone who had a test cancelled because of coronavirus is considered a priority
  • understanding how the situation might be different in England, Scotland and Wales

I want to explain what each of these involves in a little more detail.

Preparing guidance for driving examiners

We are reviewing and updating the guidance for driving examiners about carrying out driving tests. This includes things like the PPE they need to wear, greeting candidates and cleaning equipment such as sat navs and tablets.

We’re also working hard to make sure we’ll be able to quickly help the NHS Test and Trace service (Test and Protect in Scotland, and Test, Trace, Protect in Wales) should a driving test candidate or driving examiner develop symptoms in the days after a test.

Making sure driving test centres are ready to reopen

Some of our driving test centres have now been closed for 12 weeks. We need to make sure they’re thoroughly checked before we can reopen them.

As just one example, we need to make sure the hot and cold water systems are free from legionella bacteria (which causes Legionnaires’ disease).

Many of the contractors that we rely on to do this work also put their services on hold during the lockdown. We’re busy working with them to get our test centre network safe and ready.

Making sure we have PPE in place

To help keep you, your pupils and driving examiners stay safe, we’ve ordered PPE for all driving examiners. This includes face coverings and gloves.

Since the start of pandemic, there has been a high demand for this type of equipment. Like many organisations, we’ve had to wait for supplies to become available.

Understanding which driving examiners will be available

As you’ll appreciate, some of our driving examiners are either clinically vulnerable from coronavirus, or extremely vulnerable. Others might live with or care for people in those groups.

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.

Planning driving test schedules

When we suspended driving tests, we rescheduled all your pupils’ driving tests to a named date and time.

But we now have 3 issues to think about:

  • rescheduled dates might not be suitable for you and your pupils, as situations may have changed
  • not all driving examiners will be available
  • social distancing measures might limit the number of tests we can carry out

This means we need to think about the best way to make sure your pupils can take their test at a convenient time, in a way that’s fair to everyone.

The fairest way we can do this is to put all the rescheduled tests ‘on hold’.

This means the test will no longer go ahead on the originally rescheduled date.

We will then ask people in the backlog to go online and choose their preferred date and time. We’ll invite them to do this in batches, based on when their test should have originally taken place.

We will contact you before we start this process, so you can make your pupils aware of what’s happening. We will also contact them directly with more information.

We are also planning how we can continue to help critical workers to get a test as a priority throughout this process.Thank you for your patience and understanding.

I hope that you, your family and your friends remain safe and well.

Yours sincerely,

Gareth Llewellyn

Chief Executive Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency

Coronavirus advice

The risk of catching coronavirus (COVID-19) is currently rated as low, according to the government. However, it is important to be aware of the official guidance for businesses, which we have outlined below.

If you are worried about symptoms, call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Cough
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fever
What to do if you or one of your member of staff or pupils becomes unwell and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19

If the person has not been to specified areas in the last 14 days, then normal practice should continue.

If someone becomes unwell and has travelled to China or other affected countries, the unwell person should be removed to an area which is at least two metres away from other people. If possible find a room or area where they can be isolated behind a closed door. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation.

The individual who is unwell should call NHS 111 from their mobile, or 999 if an emergency, and explain which country they have returned from in the last 14 days and outline their current symptoms.

Specified areas

People who have returned from Hubei Province, including Wuhan, in the last 14 days should call NHS 111 for advice and self-isolate whether they have symptoms or not.

Advice is in place for what to do if you have returned in the last 14 days from specified countries or areas. This is updated on an ongoing basis.

Preventing spread of infection

Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the following general cold and flu precautions are taken to help prevent people from catching and spreading COVID-19:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze. See Catch it, Bin it, Kill it
  • Put used tissues in the bin straight away
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. See hand washing guidance
  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Face masks for the general public are not recommended to protect from infection, as there is no evidence of benefit from their use outside healthcare environments.

Further information is available on the PHE blog and NHS.UK.

Learner drivers will be allowed to take motorway driving lessons with an approved driving instructor in a car with dual controls from 2018.

Allowing learner drivers to have lessons on motorways will help to make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely.

At the moment, you can only have driving lessons on motorways after you’ve passed your driving test. Some newly-qualified drivers take lessons through the voluntary Pass Plus scheme.

How the change will work

The change will apply to England, Scotland and Wales.

Learner drivers will need to be:

  • accompanied by an approved driving instructor
  • driving a car fitted with dual controls

Any motorways lessons will be voluntary. It will be up to the driving instructor to decide when the learner driver is competent enough to have a motorway lesson.

Trainee driving instructors won’t be allowed to take learner drivers on the motorway.

Motorway driving will not be included in the driving test changes coming into force on 4 December 2017.

The change will only apply to learner drivers of cars – learner motorcyclists won’t be allowed to have motorway lessons.

When the change will happen

The exact date in 2018 will be confirmed nearer the time.

The change will be well-publicised so driving instructors and learner drivers are prepared for the change, and other road users know what to expect. The Highway Code rules on motorways will also be updated.

Until the law is changed, it’s still illegal for a learner driver to drive on a motorway.

Driving instructor vehicles and training

Driving instructors will be allowed to decide whether or not to keep their driving school roof-top box on during motorway lessons, based on the manufacturer’s instructions.

However, the car will still need to display L plates on the front and rear if the rooftop box is removed.

It will be up to the instructor whether or not they keep their driving school roof-top box on – but the car will still have to display L plates on the front and rear

Guidance for driving instructors

DVSA won’t give driving instructors extra training on providing motorway lessons, but learning materials and the car driving syllabus will be updated to incorporate motorway lessons.

DVSA will also work with driving instructor associations and Highways England to provide extra guidance and advice for driving instructors.

Preparing drivers for a lifetime of safe driving

The changes are being made to allow learner drivers to:

  • get broader driving experience before taking their driving test
  • get training on how to join and leave the motorway, overtake and use lanes correctly
  • practise driving at higher speeds
  • put their theoretical knowledge into practice

Driving test changes: Monday 4th December 2017

The driving test will change from Monday 4 December 2017 to include following directions from a sat nav and testing different manoeuvres.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has confirmed that the driving test in England, Scotland and Wales will change from Monday 4 December 2017.

The changes are designed to make sure new drivers have the skills they’ll need to help them through a lifetime of safe driving.

The changes will only apply to car driving tests to begin with.

The 4 driving test changes 1. Independent driving part of the test will increase to 20 minutes

The independent driving part of the test currently lasts around 10 minutes. During this part of the test, you have to drive without turn-by-turn directions from the driving examiner.

This part of the test will be made longer, so it’ll last around 20 minutes – roughly half of the test.

2. Following directions from a sat nav

During the independent driving part of the test, most candidates will be asked to follow directions from a sat nav.

The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up. You won’t need to set the route – the examiner will do this for you. So, it doesn’t matter what make or model of sat nav you practise with.

You can’t follow directions from your own sat nav during the test – you have to use the one supplied by the examiner.

You’ll be able to ask the examiner for confirmation of where you’re going if you’re not sure. It won’t matter if you go the wrong way unless you make a fault while doing it.

One in 5 driving tests won’t use a sat nav. You’ll need to follow traffic signs instead.

3. Reversing manoeuvres will be changed

The ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres will no longer be tested, but you should still be taught them by your instructor.

You’ll be asked to do one of 3 possible reversing manoeuvres:

  • parallel park at the side of the road
  • park in a bay – either driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)
  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for 2 car lengths and rejoin the traffic
4. Answering a vehicle safety question while you’re driving

The examiner will ask you 2 vehicle safety questions during your driving test – these are known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

You’ll be asked the:

  • ‘tell me’ question (where you explain how you’d carry out a safety task) at the start of your test, before you start driving
  • ‘show me’ question (where you show how you’d carry out a safety task) while you’re driving – for example, showing how to wash the windscreen using the car controls and wipers

Click on this link to Watch how the new test will work.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) wants the public to give their views on plans to improve the car driving test.

The government is committed to reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on Great Britain’s roads.

Changing the driving test will help to do this, by making it a better assessment of the candidate’s ability to drive independently in modern driving conditions.

DVSA has published a consultation asking for views on the changes. The deadline to have your say is 25 August 2016.

What the changes are

The changes are to:

  • increase the ‘independent driving’ part of the test from 10 to 20 minutes
  • ask candidates to follow directions from a sat nav during the ‘independent driving’ part
  • replace the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn in the road’ manoeuvres with more real-life scenarios, eg driving into and reversing out of a parking bay
  • ask 1 of the 2 vehicle safety questions (known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions) while the candidate is driving, eg asking them to use the rear heated screen

Why the changes are important

Road collisions are the biggest killer of young people. They account for over a quarter of all deaths of those aged between 15 and 19.

DVSA wants to make sure that training and the driving test reduce the number of young people being killed in collisions.

These changes have been proposed because:

  • most fatal collisions happen on high-speed roads (not including motorways) – changing the format of the test will allow more of these types of roads to be included in driving test routes
  • 52% of car drivers now have a sat nav – DVSA wants new drivers to be trained to use them safely
  • research has shown that new drivers find ‘independent driving’ training valuable – they can relate it to driving once they’ve passed their test
Areas Covered:
I offer driving lessons and intensive crash courses in Cannock, Hednesford, Rugeley, Stafford, Burntwood, Lichfield, Aldridge, Bloxwich, Brownhills, plus the surrounding areas