Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser

Region’s learner drivers are going through theory test HE


Lanarkshir­e learner drivers have branded the testing process “shambolic” after being forced to travel to England to sit their theory tests.

Charlene Mclaren had to set off for 190 miles and stay overnight with her family to sit the test.

She was forced to sit the exam in Blackpool after not being able to find a test anywhere in Scotland.

She said: “I would have normally sat the test in Glasgow but there were no appointmen­ts available until October.

“My instructor had told me that they had heard of people travelling to England to sit the test and I looked online and found lots of appointmen­ts.

“There were tests available in Blackpool and I decided to book there, as I am familiar with Blackpool.

“I had to travel down with my partner and kids and we had to stay the night before in Blackpool.

“This was hard for us and left me under a lot of pressure, but thankfully I passed the test.

“It felt special to be sitting in Blackpool as it is one of my favourite places and my dad used to take us there a lot, he died in 2018.”

Ross Mckenna is another Lanarkshir­e learner left frustrated by the system.

He also had to travel to Blackpool to take his test, after looking for a Scottish test date for months.

His mum, Margaret Mckenna, was left angered by the system.

She said: “My dad had to drive Ross down to the test which was an extra cost for us. Thankfully he passed but it is a joke that he had to travel that far in the first place.

“I don’t understand how there are so many slots in England, but none up here; what’s going on?

“We have been trying to get a test for Ross for so long and finally decided enough was enough and booked Blackpool.

“The practical test is the same; we can’t get one in Lanark until November. It is really stressful for us all.”

Ross’s plight was taken up by Airdrie MP Anum Qaiser Javed, who raised the issue at Westminste­r.

She said: “Learners are facing around six months’ wait for both theory and practical driving tests – and where they do find a slot, it often involves significan­t and potentiall­y expensive travel across the UK.

“That’s not in any way sustainabl­e or fair to the 440,000 young drivers who are waiting, nor does it make great sense to encourage long-distance, non-essential travel in the midst of a pandemic.

“What’s worse is that the UK Government point blank refuses to extend the two-year expiration for theory test passes, which means that some drivers are being forced to pay to re-sit tests because they haven’t been able to secure a practical test in time. Of course, that’s only increasing the backlog for theory tests.

“These delays risk closing many of those doors off to an entire generation.”

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) chief executive, Loveday Ryder, said: “We are doing all we can to provide as many tests as possible so we can get our services back to normal.

“I know learners will be keen to take their test now, but it is important that candidates are properly prepared and don’t rush to take it.

“With more than half of candidates failing, and demand currently extremely high for tests, learners should only take their test only when they are confident they can pass. This will help them to avoid a lengthy wait for a retest and help us by not adding to the backlog of tests.“

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Charlene Mclaren had to go to Blackpool to sit her driving theory test
Lengthy trip Charlene Mclaren had to go to Blackpool to sit her driving theory test

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