Driving lessons and tests have been badly disrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic, with instruction and testing suspended during the first UK-wide lockdown and affected again by Scotland’s move to a tiered system of restrictions and then a second full lockdown.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's latest annoucement on plans to ease restrictions give some indication of when certain services and businesses can resume and, for the first time, gave an indication of when learners can get back on the road.
Are driving tests taking place in Scotland?
Practial and theory tests are currently suspended throughout Scotland.
They were first suspended on Boxing Day when virtually the whole country was placed under Tier 4 restrictions. Following a move to a tighter nationwide lockdown, these restrictions remained in place and are still in operation.
The DVSA has said that driver testing will remain suspended until an area moves out of level 4 restrictions.
The Scottish Government has indicated that the stay-at-home rules are likely to be lifted on 2 April, with some restrictions easing from there until the country returns to a localised tier system from 26 April. Ms Sturgeon said she hoped at that point all council areas could move to level 3 restrictions.
If your test has been postponed or cancelled due to previous local restrictions, the DVSA should contact you with information on how to go about getting a new appointment.
The previous lockdown and further restrictions led to a huge backlogs of tests, with hundreds of thousands of learners struggling to book new appointments after their original bookings were cancelled.
While the DVSA is yet to confirm when driving tests can resume, the latest Scottish Government hsa confirmed that driving lessons with professional instructors will be allowed to restart from 26 April.
Until then, driving lessons are suspended around the country.
Instructors have been told that they cannot give lessons unless it is with someone from their household during an essential journey, for instance to go shopping.
Will theory test pass certificates be extended?
As during previous lockdowns the DVSA has refused to extend the validity of theory pass certificates.
Theory passes are valid for two years but due to cancellations and problems securing new test appointments some learners have seen their certificates expire before they were able to sit the practical test.
Despite these difficulties, the DVSA has said that learners whose theory pass expires during lockdown will have to book and pass another theory test before being allowed to sit the practical driving test. It told learners: "This is because your road safety knowledge and hazard perception skills need to be up to date when you restart driving lessons and take your driving test."
Driving test rules
To reduce the risk of spreading the Covid infection, the DVSA has introduced new rules around driving tests which will be in force when tests resume.
Candidates and instructors must wear a face covering unless they have a good reason not to. This can include a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering, or if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress. If you arrive for your test without a mask your test will be cancelled.
Candidates should arrive at the test centre no more than five minutes before their test and should ensure that their car interior is cleaned before the examiner gets in. This includes tidying away unnecessary items and wiping down all controls and touchpoints.
Windows in the test vehicle must be kept open at all times.
Instructors are not allowed to remain in the car during the test but can listen to post-test feedback as long as social distancing is maintained.
You should not attend for your test if you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms or if you have been told by the track and trace service that you’ve been in contact with someone who has the virus.
If you cannot attend at short notice due to these rules, you can change your driving test appointment free of charge via the DVSA website.