Since 23rd March, with the exception to “Key Workers” with Emergency Tests booked, all driving lessons have been suspended, as per the guidance set out by the Driving Standards Agency, (DVSA).
Whilst no date has been officially announced by the DVSA for when driving lessons can restart in the UK, ADI Network has been working silently in preparing to be able to start lessons as soon as possible.
All student and instructor PPE is now in place, with the added protection of both disposable steering wheel and seat covers for each lesson.
During the last 3 months students a have been kept up to date with the DVSA’s announcements and this post is with no exception.
Below is an exert taken from a correspondence with Gareth Llewellyn, Chief Executive of the DVSA. Now although it is not the green light we are all waiting for, it does set out the enormity involved in allowing lessons and tests to recommence.
|Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency|
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 testsmaking sure our driving test centres are ready to reopenmaking sure we have PPE in placeunderstanding which driving examiners might not be able to return to testing straight awayplanning driving test schedules so that anyone who had a test cancelled because of coronavirus is considered a priorityunderstanding 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 changednot all driving examiners will be availablesocial 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
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.
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency”
Obviously, not quite what we all want to hear, but at least we know the DVSA are planning on easing the restrictions and that ADI Network are ready as soon as they do.