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Best places for driving test waiting times in the UK

Dan Powell

Written by

Dan Powell

Learner driver in MINI parking
  • These are the top 10 test centres with the shortest waiting times based on DVSA data (between April 2020 and March 2021)
  • Learner drivers in the UK are waiting an average of 14 weeks
  • Some learners will wait considerably less time to sit a practical driving exam

New drivers in the UK are facing long delays for practical driving tests in 2021 as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) attempts to clear a huge backlog caused by the Coronavirus pandemic and national lockdowns.

The DVSA cancelled a whopping 241,127 driving tests between April 2020 and March 2021, which means, on average a new driver faces a 14-week wait for a practical test appointment. However, thanks to new research, we've found the best test centres in the UK with the shortest waiting times. 

We've crunched the latest DVSA numbers to reveal the driving test centres in the UK with the shortest waiting times. This data is based on individual driving centre wait times, recorded between April 2020 and March 2021.


Top 10 places in England for driving test waiting times (between April 2020 and March 2021)

These are the test centre locations in England with the shortest waiting times

Driving test centre

    • 1) Carlisle
    • 2) Kendal (Oxenholme Road)
    • 3) Boston
    • 4) Chichester
    • 5) Croydon
    • 6) Whitby
    • 7) King’s Lynn
    • 8) Cardington
    • 9) Redditch
    • 10) Canterbury

Practical driving test wait time (in weeks)

    • 4
    • 6
    • 6
    • 6
    • 6
    • 7
    • 7
    • 7
    • 7
    • 7

Top 10 places in Scotland for driving test waiting times (between April 2020 and March 2021)

These are the test centre locations in Scotland with the shortest waiting times

Driving test centre

    • 1) Galashiels
    • 2) Inverness (Seafield Road) 
    • 3) Dundee
    • 4) Elgin
    • 5) Greenock
    • 6) Kirkcaldy
    • 7) Dumbarton
    • 8) Perth
    • 9) Peterhead
    • 10) Stirling

Practical driving test wait time (in weeks)

    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 7
    • 7
    • 7
    • 8
    • 8
    • 8
    • 8

What is the average waiting time for a driving test in the UK? 

The average waiting time for a driving test in the UK was a little over two months in 2020, with learner drivers facing a nine-week wait for a practical test. However, according to the latest DVSA figures, this number increased by 55% in the first two months of 2021.

A Freedom of Information request by heycar has found that the average waiting time for a driving test in 2021 is 14 weeks. However, if you drill into the regional numbers, that maximum waiting time can increase to a whopping 18 weeks

The coronavirus pandemic has been blamed for the UK's huge driving test backlog, with 241,127 practical tests being cancelled between April 2020 and March 2021. 

Top 5 places in Wales for driving test waiting times (between April 2020 and March 2021)

These are the test centre locations in Wales with the shortest waiting times

Driving test centre

    • 1) Pembroke Dock
    • 2) Cardigan
    • 3) Carmarthen
    • 4) Llanelli
    • 5) Aberystwyth (Park Avenue) 

Practical driving test wait time (in weeks)

    • 6
    • 7
    • 7
    • 7
    • 8

When will driving test waiting times return to 2019 levels?

In short, no one knows. We asked the DVSA when waiting times were expected to return to normal and a spokesperson said: "We have put measures in place to increase practical driving tests when it is safe for them to resume. 

"These include offering overtime and annual leave buyback to examiners, asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests, and conducting out of hours testing (such as on public holidays).

"In addition, we have also started a recruitment campaign to increase the number of examiners. The aim is to increase testing capacity and reduce the backlog as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining a COVID-secure service for our customers and examiners."

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