If you’ve had the pleasure of trying to book a driving test in the past 12 months, like the 100’s of My Four Wheels learners currently learning to drive, you’ll know that test wait times are especially long, and finding a test can be tiresome and frustrating.
Due to Covid, there has been a huge backlog of learners wanting to pass their tests. With test wait times in some areas as high as 6 months. This saw the rise of opportunistic hackers who developed bots that would crawl the DVSA website and book multiple tests at a time. These tests were then sold to desperate learners, sometimes for over £200!
Whilst this activity is not illegal, it’s certainly immoral, and has been likened to similar situations in the music industry where concert tickets are bought on mass and resold simply to gain a profit. This practice has not only meant that thousands of learners have paid way above the odds for their practical tests, but it has also increased the number of learners either turning up to their tests unprepared or sometimes not showing at all.
The good news is however, the DVSA has now blocked nearly 5,000 unauthorised accounts that were using the system designed specifically for driving instructors and driving schools to book multiple tests at a time.
They have also implemented tougher security measures to block the use of automated software to mass block book tests, which will hopefully see the end of the issue.
So, problem solved?
Whilst the blocking of automated software will certainly help alleviate the backlog of learners currently waiting to sit their tests meaning they can book a test in a timelier fashion, we are still facing an uphill battle.
The DVSA has stated that over 6,000 people every month fail to show to their tests. Not only this, but another 1,100 are unable to take the test because they are late, do not bring their provisional licence or have a car that meets test requirements.
To combat this, the DVSA is also launching a text message service that will send test date reminders, in a bid to reduce the number of no-shows.
DVSA chief executive Loveday Ryder said: "We're working hard to provide more tests, and we're starting to see that work pay off with more tests available to book.
"But also we're asking learners and instructors to do their part to help in making sure everyone who is heading for a driving test appointment is fully prepared, has got the right car, the right documents and knows the time, date and location of their test.
"By working together, we'll see the right people coming for their test, the pass rate increase and waiting times drop."
There is still a long way to go, however, these announcements have certainly made many learners, and many driving instructors very happy!