South Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper, following correspondence from constituents, has raised the issue of a backlog of people waiting to sit both their theory and practical driving tests with the Scottish Government through a written question.
Although driving tests and other motoring issues are matters reserved to the UK Government, the South Scotland MSP has asked the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the UK Government on this matter, which is causing many people across Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders delays of up to 6 months before they can sit their test. These delays are largely down to the pandemic and a suspension of both practical and theory driving tests in the first 6 months of COVID-19 restrictions.
In response to Ms Harper’s question, the Scottish Government confirmed that they have been working with Transport Scotland and with the DVSA to ensure that the number of driving theory tests being delivered in Scotland will be increased in line with the revised rules. As a result, an additional 4,500 driving theory tests will be available to book in Scotland between 19 July to 3 September which Ms Harper has welcomed.
In a written question to the Government, Ms Harper asked;
“What discussions has the Scottish Government had with the Department for Transport regarding the action it is taking to address the backlog of people waiting to sit their theory and practical driving tests in Dumfries and Galloway?”
Transport Minister, Graeme Dey responded saying;
“The UK government`s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is responsible for the delivery of driving tests in Scotland. However, Transport Scotland meets regularly with the DVSA to explore ways in the delivery of driving tests could be expedited to ensure that waiting times to access a driving test are minimised as much as possible across Scotland.
“During our recent engagement, the DVSA confirmed that they have increased the number of practical tests being delivered each day and are also recruiting additional driving test examiners to further increase the number of tests that they can deliver including at weekends.
“Following the recent changes to indoor physical distancing rules in Scotland, announced by the First Minister on 13 July, Transport Scotland has worked with the DVSA to ensure that the number of driving theory tests being delivered in Scotland will be increased in line with the revised rules. As a result, an additional 4,500 driving theory tests will be available to book in Scotland between 19 July to 3 September”.
Ms Harper welcomed the news saying;
“The additional 4,500 driving theory tests will be welcome news to many. I am aware of this as it has affected a close member of my family along with his friends who are all keen to get on with their driving theory and practical tests. This information should provide reassurance for all those affected by the delay”.