Are driving lessons and tests allowed in Scotland? DVSA rules for practical and theory tests during lockdown
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.
Following First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's announcement of a nationwide lockdown, the situation in Scotland has changed again and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has issued new guidance on theory and practical driving tests and driving lessons.
Are driving lessons taking place in Scotland?
Practial and theory test are currently suspended throughout Scotland.
They were first suspended on Boxing Day when virtually the whole country was placed under Tier 4 restrictions. These restrictions were due to be lifted on January 16 but the move to a full lockdown will see the whole country under tighter regulations until at least the end of January.
Previously, tests had been going ahead in all but Tier 4 areas but the new "stay at home" restrictions have led the DVSA to stop all testing, including practical and theory tests for car and motorbike and exams for trainee driving instructors.
The DVSA has confirmed that the suspension of lessons in Scotland will remain in place until restrictions are lifted.
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.
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."
As with driving tests, 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.
As with testing, lessons are expected to remain on hold until the current lockdown restrictions are lifted.
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.